(you might try clicking the picture)
The Stour Valley Mummers' performance at the Black Lion, Glemsford was one of the best for many years. The cast was much the same as in previous years.
Ann Taylor was a commanding Room, leaping sprite-like from table to table in the crowded pub to drag back the attention of the lunchtime drinkers. No-one knew where she would appear next (but it may be in a bigger picture).
The part of Father Christmas was again taken by Steve Clarke. This role has gradually metamorphosed from the avuncular Ho Ho Ho figure into a more ambiguous and slightly threatening Green Man who entices the various battlers to their temporary doom.
Soldier Bold was Mike Hamilton. This year he wore the uniform of a full colonel, but nevertheless succumbed to the battle skills of the Turkish Knight. You won't see much, but if you want a slightly bigger picture, click on the photo.
The Soldier's Milkmaid wife was played more pneumatically than ever by Geoff Monk, who brought the character right up to date with an Old Spice sweatshirt, which barely stretched over his/her ample figure.
(If you should wish for something larger, you know what to do)
Little Johnny Jack was played with verve and passion byPaul Tommo Thomson. It was not easy for Tommo to work himself into such an un-stereotyped role, but he quickly had the audience believing in his supposedly vertically-challenged character. This year, the family on his back bore some relation to those volcanically popular characters, the Teletubbies.
Dave Jukes IS the Turkish Knight. He dominates the scene, an Olivier to the extras around him - or so he tells us. At once, he is suave and threatening, smooth talking and irresistible. The pathos of his final humiliation is pure Dickens.
St George, the ultimate hero of our tale, is a part tailor-made for John Proffitt. The character becomes, in his hands, Singeorge, a foppish wag with gwittering sword and spear, who roams the lanes of Wittle Egypt looking for damsels in distwess. Despite the hammering he takes from the Turkish Knight, Singeorge returns to conquer all, and to receive the grateful thanks of those assembled.
Doctor Leech was played with unfaltering expertise by Marilyn "Thora" Clarke. Her resurrection scene, following hard upon her haggling with Father Christmas over the fee, left all fans of "ER" and "Casualty" breathless with admiration. Peter Ford and John Aldous were also driven to comment on the first sighting of her legs in several years, but we will say no more of that.
The whole production was again directed with drive and infinite patience by Mark Mikurenda, who also brought great feeling to his part as a hatstand.
Stour Valley Mummers
1997's Boxing Day Extravaganza
The Rest of the Morris