Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Buxton Blog - 5/8, a quintessential Buxton day

WHAT a day! I was expecting great things from the programme, and I was in no wise disappointed!

I woke in good time for a 10:30 rehearsal - a Pot-Luck show is too good to be left to luck, so there's a rehearsal where people like me (who have never been in a Mikado) can learn it. John Howells is a great MD, lots of fun to work with, and has that uncanny knack of telegraphing the notes to me just before I need them so I somehow "know" the tune without knowing it.

We finish rehearsing and go home for a spot of lunch before "Just a G&S Minute". It's modelled of what must be a famous UK quiz show where contestants have to talk for a full minute on a given subject, without hesitating, repeating themselves or deviating from the topic. In any other place this would be a trivia quiz and a gruelling test of people's ability to waffle believably. But the point is, Buxton is not like any other place! The chairman's decision is final and needs no justification - just imagine what freedom that gives! Minus four points for making a joke at my expense. Minus seven for laughing too loud. And I do accept bribes you know...

By the time the hilarity had died down it was time to go to the show - Ruddigore by the pro company. Chris's review hardly does it justice. The set was brilliant, the costumes were amazing (and if I think of talking about the costumes they must be something special), and the lighting made me think hard about getting a working visa and applying for a job with the designer. Who would have thought that clever lighting could give the impression of one quarter of the stage being the bride's dressing room and another quarter the groom's, and that they couldn't see each other even though they're using opposite sides of the same mirror? It's a level of brilliance on par with Goon Shows where we're explicitly told that we're in a studio along with Ray Ellington's quartet and yet we really feel that we're out on the Yorkshire moors. If the lighting for our Yeomen is half as good I'll be on top of the world.

And then to the Festival Club where we have a pot-luck Mikado. As I've said before, pot-lucks are the most fun anyone can have outside the cockpit of a supersonic jet. We didn't have a Mikado so when we got up to "My object all sublime" John just faced the audience and said "Can we have a chorus of Mikados please?" - but then (with a little prodding from his dear wife) Chris Hall vaulted up onto the stage and took the part. What fun!

We got home at about 1am thanks to 24 hour public transport known as Shank's Pony. Gee I love this place.

1 comment:

Talldad said...

Just A Minute originally with Derek Nimmo, Peter Jones, Clement Freud, then others, chair Nicholas Parsons.

Theme tune is The Minute Waltz by Frederic Chopin (yes, I know it's a bit longer than one minute): "speak for one minute without hesitation, deviation or repetition".

One of the longest running BBC radio shows (Radio 4), well known Down Under in earlier years - when the ABC wasn't talkback, and had some decent programs.