My dedication to, or obsession with (depending on which way you look at it), golf has become something of a running joke amongst the cast of Chicago. This may have something to do with my constant reading of golf magazines during vocal and physical warm ups, or the girls having difficulty checking their costumes (or lack of them) in the back-stage mirror because I?m busy assessing the position of my hands at the top of my back-swing. The fact that my wardrobe consists almost entirely of golf garments raises a giggle and there was downright incredulity when, during ?Razzle Dazzle? I managed to put in a full swing with my cane, even holding the finish for a two count.
Now gentle ribbing and cordial banter I don?t have a problem with, it?s part and parcel of company life, but when one of the girls exclaimed loudly that golf was a rubbish sport, requiring no skill, played by the old and infirm? Well that was too much to bear. I issued a challenge that the next day they come with me to the range, my shout, and if they didn?t find the experience rewarding I?d buy them lunch. Ok not much of a challenge I grant you, but I?m dealing with dancers here, unless it?s made by Prada, or sparkles, it?s very difficult to raise interest. Anyway lunch would probably amount to a couple of lettuce leaves with a drizzle of Balsamic vinegar.
Three of the girls Sasha, Carly and Jodie picked up the ‘gauntlet’ and we arranged to meet the following morning (11.55am. Still morning.) My parting words were wear some suitable golfing attire.
The next morning, bang on the dot ? 12.30pm ? the girls rocked up wearing clothes that were by no means suitable, certainly not golfing, and in Carly?s case, I wasn?t entirely sure they could be called attire.
I should explain that every Chicago dancer has been hand picked from thousands of hopefuls for their dancing ability, their singing and famously their beauty. Put simply each of them could stop a charging bull elephant dead in its tracks with one flutter of an eye-lash.
Therefore arriving at the Europro Driving Range the response we elicited was not entirely surprising. I had to ask for some ladies clubs and tokens three times before the young assistant behind the desk even realised I was there. We hadn?t got 20 yards from the desk before the same, somewhat enterprising, assistant (Stuart) suggested that if the girls hadn?t much experience of the game perhaps they?d allow him to take them through the basics? How sweet?
Actually this offer proved fortuitous as Carly, boasting nails a bird of prey would be proud, found gripping a club impossible. Determined that she should still have some sort of golfing experience, I left Sasha and Jodie in Stuart?s capable, if slightly sweaty, hands and took Carly to the synthetic putting green. Thankful for the astro-turf, her heels would have subjected a real green to some impromptu tining, I set about showing her the proper stance, set up and pendulum putting stroke.
Being a dancer Carly has an innate sense of rhythm and timing, also an incredible control over her body?s movements. All this translated to holed putts from every part of the green, each success accompanied by an excited squeal, a little jump and clapping. The only unfortunate incident occurred when an elderly gentleman tripped over an unseen 3ft high concrete bollard at the side of the path, spraying his clubs in every direction. I suppose he wasn?t used to seeing a 5ft 9? blond wearing nothing more than short hot-pants and a singlet, holing a tricky 6ft left to righter?
Returning to the range to see how my other protégées were progressing, we were greeted by Sasha and Jodie grinning like naughty schoolgirls. Apparently it had all been going swimmingly until Stuart had begun to use some golfing terminology. Sasha had no idea that one sport could produce so many double entendres, and when the words ?grip? and ?shaft-flex? were uttered in the same sentence the banter between the girls got too much for Stuart, who had beaten a hasty retreat to the relative safety of the shop.
Chicago Chorus Girl: Looks of an Angel, mind of a sewer rat.
The entire drive back in to town, all the girls could talk about was shots they?d played, or putts they?d holed, it was truly gratifying to hear. When we arrived back at the theatre I turned to them and asked if they?d enjoyed themselves? Demonstrating the true art of the Chorus, and with one unifying voice they replied ?NO?.
It seems there really is such a thing as a free lunch.