One of these days someone was going to drag Arthur bloody Wellesley kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century. Today was clearly not that day. Why he couldn't just send a group email like any other director was a mystery to Grant.
“Did you get it?” William asked breathlessly. Still in his rugby kit; he must have run all the way.
“No,” Grant said, glaring at the JCR notice-board. “And look who did.”
They stared at the list, handwritten in red ink:
MEDSOC CHRISTMAS MUSICAL: ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW
Dr. Frank-N-Furter (a scientist) - J Strange
Janet Weiss (a heroine) - A Woodhope
Brad Majors (a hero) - C Grant
Riff Raff (a handyman) - J Childermass
Magenta (a domestic) - F Greysteel
Columbia (a groupie) - E Wintertowne
Dr. Everett V. Scott (a rival scientist) - W Pole
Rocky Horror (a creation) - W De Lancey
Eddie (ex delivery boy) - C Drawlight
The Criminologist (an expert) - J Segundus
“Oh,” William said. “Bad luck. Still, we know he looks good in drag. Probably just waltzed into the audition and gave them his Marlene.”
Jonathan Strange's performance in the May Week revue as Marlene Dietrich, stupid blonde wig, black stockings and suspenders and all, was still seared into Grant's brain. It was not fair that anyone so annoying could look so fucking hot, especially in that get-up. Grant was not going to think about Jonathan in a corset and fishnets and bright red lipstick, he wasn't -
“Brad's not a bad part,” William said.
“No,” Grant said grudgingly. “Not as good, though.”
William didn't attempt to argue. “That's what you get for looking like such a nice boy.”
“Maybe Norrell won't let him do it,” William said encouragingly. “He put his foot down with last year's finalists.”
This was true, but knowing Strange he'd find a way round it, and probably still manage to pull off a First. Tosser.
“Who's F Greysteel?”
“Haven't the foggiest,” William said.
“Oh, hang on, is she one of the Vet freshers?” Grant said.
“Christ, are we having vets in the cast now? Things are really going downhill.”
“She might be good, you never know.”
“Better than Henry Lascelles in a maid's outfit and a fright wig, anyway,” Grant said.
William shuddered theatrically. “Don't! Mind you, if he's not in it that means he can review it.”
This was true. Grant sighed at the thought of another Lascelles slash-and-burn special.
“I suppose Arthur knows what he's doing.”
“Arthur? Of course he does!” Grant didn't need to look round to see who'd made that smug remark.
They'd started calling each other by their surnames after that production of The History Boys in first year, and it had stuck.
“Thanks, Grant. You too. Looking forward to seeing you in your underpants.”
“What about me?” William said indignantly, saving Grant from telling Jonathan to fuck off.
“Everyone's seen you in a loincloth, you raving exhibitionist,” Jonathan said. “Grant here is quite another matter.”
“Shut up,” Grant said. It was infuriating that Jonathan could make him blush.
“And you get Bell Woodhope rubbing baby-oil on you, you lucky sod,” Jonathan continued.
Wasted on William, of course; they all knew that. His interests were altogether elsewhere.
“Never mind, Strange,” Grant said. “You get a bedroom scene with her - I'm sure you'll make the most of that.”
“I get a bedroom scene with you, too, Brad dear,” Jonathan said with a grin.
“Bet you're looking forward to that,” William said.
“Oh, he is,” Grant said, for once not afflicted by l'esprit d'escalier. “Don't you see him shiver with antici -”
“My line, I think,” Jonathan said haughtily. “See you both in rehearsal.”
“Oo-ooh!” William jeered, as Jonathan stalked off.
“Well, that escalated quickly,” Grant said.
“Didn't it, though?” William said. “So, what do you reckon - can I shag Arthur before opening night?”
“You've shagged all your other directors,” Grant said. “I'd say it's a probable twelve to seven.”
“Bet he shags you first.”
“No, you fuckwit. Jonathan.”
“Have you been at the drugs cupboard again?”
“Oh, come on,” William said. “You saw the way he reacted when you teased him. Get your lab coat, you've pulled.”
“Bollocks,” Grant said. “He was pissed off I'd nicked his line, that's all.”
William gave him a pitying look. “How long are you going to go on kidding yourself?”
As long as it takes, Grant thought. Weeks of rehearsal with Jonathan trying to get off with Bell, not to mention that sodding bedroom scene...
I know, Jonathan's voice as Frank-N-Furter purred in his head. But it's not all bad, is it?
Seven shows at the ADC, with everyone he knew in Cambridge watching Grant silhouetted half-naked on his back with his legs in the air and Jonathan, head down between his thighs, pretending to suck him off -
“Kill me now,” Grant said. “This show is going to be a complete fucking nightmare.”