The excitement was palpable in our house on Friday. Perhaps more specifically, the mother of the house was bursting with excitement. One of her teenage idols was coming to Dublin and she had tickets. The star of such classics as “Mannequin” and “Pretty in Pink” was coming to bear his soul to a select audience of four hundred.
I was seconded in at the last minute as my wife’s sister who had the tickets inconveniently decided to go into labour the day before. Andrew McCarthy is not one of my teenage idols to be honest, but one cannot disappoint a spouse in a frenzy of anticipation.
After a rather pleasant meal and stroll in the spring sunshine, we headed over to the theatre. The buzz of excited conversation and nervous giggling was all around. Entering the foyer, a bookseller was pushing Andrew’s biography and already had a queue of ladies paying in advance for a signed copy.
I looked around while my wife went up to the booking office to get the tickets. White wine flowed along with the odd gin and tonic. It was then I noticed that I was literally the only man in the area.Not a problem in itself, but it did lend a notion or two of how the evening would progress. Wife returns with tickets and we head into the theatre.
Eleven members of the male species I counted of which four were couples and most certainly interested in Andrew as an idol of their youth. The rest of us, including what appeared to be a child of about thirteen, were sitting slightly bemused at the raucous behaviour of the fairer sex as they anticipated the arrival of their hero. Anticipation in the room abounded of the conversation that would shortly follow.
The lights faded and we were welcomed into the theatre and Andrew was introduced. Squeals, wolf whistles and un-hushed whispers greeted the guest along with applause. He was accompanied to stage by an attractive young lady who would be leading the conversation and trying to get as much as possible out of this enigma.
The conversation started with the interviewer, Nadine, cleverly hero worshipping her guest to gain his trust. Questions and conversation around his movie days, interactions with his fellow stars of the silver screen and his move into travel writing. Andrew boxed very cleverly. Humour, anecdotes and a degree of insight kept the audience entertained and the ladies enraptured.
He didn’t really tell us anything though. At least, nothing more than was captured in pre-theatre interviews that I’d read or perhaps on the back of the book. Nadine probed and prodded but Andrew carefully weaved his way through some of the traps being laid and would visibly check himself frequently.
Not that this made the process tedious in any way. Andrew commands a strong use of language and is engaging which enabled the audience (or me at any rate) to forgive the fact that there was no real insight into the man forthcoming. He obviously is highly introverted, something he admitted to, making it difficult for him to talk about his personal experiences. I haven’t read his book but it is shared with the audience that is a very open and frank account of his life. Andrew finds it easier to write than discuss his inner feelings and views.
A few questions from the crowd follow. Some serious, most humorous or fawning until the last question “would you recommend travelling on your own?”. The real Andrew came out in a rush. Passion, excitement, conviction all came to the fore and that insight we’d all been waiting for came flooding out.
Then he was gone. Applauded and cheered until he left with a friendly wave making his way to the book signing. The auditorium lights came back on. Satisfied smiles adorned the ladies. Their icon had delivered and still had the same hair style (though not the same colour tone) as had thirty odd years ago. Their inner youth satisfied, the ladies of Dublin and beyond left with a spring in their step.
As for the men, it was enjoyable as an outing – both for the man himself and the atmosphere in the room along with the interviewers amazing white teeth!