One day in June of 1974, as I was passing through Selfridges, I came upon one of those cosmetics demonstrations which were occasionally held on the ground floor of that teeming department store. The girl in the centre of the group was extolling the virtues of a new cleansing cream that miraculously evaporated make-up. In a few days’ time, I was about to start rehearsals for a small Grand Guignol effort called Sherlock’s Last Case, the final stage direction of which read: ‘The great detective’s face, doused with acid, gradually disintegrates before our eyes.’ I fancied that some concentrated form of this cleansing cream might provide a solution to this bedevilling stage effect. But it turned out that the product in question, efficient enough for its own uses, would in no way be helpful in dissolving Sherlock’s splendid visage and so, after a few moments, I left the store, en route to the The Open Space Theatre, of which I was then Artistic Director.
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