It was that time of year again, when Suttonford played host to
Cringe Park Opera in the grounds of Incapability Black’s lakeside
City types on corporate freebies were booking their hampers and
hamper-toting minions; women who confused Oprah Winfrey with
Jessye Norman and who preferred Sergei from comparethemeerkat.
com to Gio Compario, had had their heels exfoliated at Aquanibble, by
mini-pyranhas, in readiness for stepping out over the lumpy sward in
the latest Coltsfoot ankle-breakers.
Suttonford resembled Bethlehem on the night before Jesus’ birth:
there was no room at the inn and locals had shifted their grannies
into respite care, in order to free up a spare bedroom, for they were
onto a nice little earner in B&B- the householders, I mean. No wonder
there was local lobbying of their MP regarding opposition to bedroom
Geoffrey Poskett, choirmaster and Head of Music at St Birinus Middle
School (there was only a single full-time member of staff and he was
the selfsame) was acting as repetiteur in some of the early rehearsals,
until the vocal coach arrived to take the chorus through their language
He was dismayed to discover that his white tie and waistcoat had yellowed
over the winter and he was aware that his cummerbund would not fasten
and that he did not give the impression that he was in any way related to
that attractive young actor, Cumberbatch, who, no doubt would have no
difficulty in buttoning up his evening garments.
No, he had had the indignity of being given a severe look by Matron,
before she agreed to insert an elastic panel into the aforementioned
weight redistributor. Oh, the shame!
Castor and Pollux, the musical twins from Poskett’s school, had been chosen
to represent the juvenile souls of the doomed lovers. All they had to do was
to remain immobile on stage for twenty minutes, wearing putti wings fabricated
from two old feather boas sourced from Help The Ancient charity shop and
which had been donated by Sonia and Ginevra, the local erstwhile gaiety girls.
Castor had proved allergic to feathers and had experienced dreadful urges to
sneeze during key emotional arias, so Brassica, his mother, had remembered
to bring along his swimming nose plugs for the final rehearsals.
Their musical talents, which were prodigious according to their mother, were
not required in their roles. Their offsprings’ past stage experience sufficed to
gain their parents two coveted tickets to the dress rehearsal, where they sat,
three rows back from the orchestra pit.
Suddenly Brassica spotted Castor’s freelance flugelhorn teacher in the band
and she waved enthusiastically, but he pointedly ignored her, in spite of all the
lessons she had paid for over the years. He couldn’t have been less
acknowledging if she had clapped after the overture and shouted, Bravi!
She thought how unsupportive the school had been in general to this
marvellous opportunity. Snodbury had very reluctantly given the boys leave to
miss bowling practice after school and had muttered something about Alastair
Cook and Stuart Broad not going in for such poncey activities. She must
complain about his lack of professionalism.