Thursday, 25 June 2015

Of Ducks and Munchkins

Well, what a day! Jof has roped us in to her new hobby which is bossing people around for the school charity. We get used as free labour during school events such as winter fairs, summer fayres, and any other fair they may invent. First, as newbies, we started on a trestle table selling air fresheners, gloves and scarves (yes) that they had found in an understairs cupboard that had been bricked up and forgotten about since 1977.
Then, because we sold out due to our joyous sales patter, we were promoted at the next event to "Cake Stall Operatives" where we again sold so much we ran out of both cakes and paper plates.
This time, the Summer Fayre saw us manning the 'Hook-a-duck' attraction which is basically a small paddling pool, ten yellow plastic ducks with hooks up their bottoms, and 2 sticks with hooks on the end.
Our official guidance from the event organisers was minimal at best, make it up as you go along, they said, so we charged 10p a go, win a sweet of your choice from the paper bag whenever you successfully hook a duck, we don't care what number is painted on its underside.
It was busy. It was very busy. It was ages until it was quiet enough for me to go and spend some of my own money on the 'Higher or Lower' card game, buy cake or buy a raffle ticket. Most kids spent 10p with us but several wanted 2, 3 or 4 concurrent goes and at one point we had a massive queue and 2 contestants battling it out penalty-style, having both paid 50p. Some people did it easily. Some people made a meal of it and needed help, some gave up.
We had to get our prize bag refilled 4 times and by the time the raffle prizes were being announced, we were mentally drained (drips only) and had taken £15.30 and hooked 153 ducks! It must be a record. Jen cooled off in the pool and little kiddies joined her, it is a paddling pool after all. Jof sold all of her Jarbola tickets and had to stay behind for 90 minutes to clear up. We scooted home and I was exceedingly grubby so showered and sat naked on the sofa reading a book I'd bought for 5p.
kings youth theatre production of wizard of OzBut we don't want to leave it there, do we, children? Oh no, we don't. So we drove to the King's Theatre to see the Wizard of Oz played by the Kings Youth, which is effectively my opposition. My theatre group had block-booked some cut-price seats in the stalls near Stanley from Scouts and Bud took a seat in the dress circle above to show willing.
Above the dress circle is the upper circle and above that, the gallery (or gods). The inside of the theatre is very swish with gilded mouldings and plaster cupids and curlicues and velvet curtains with gold tassels and little binoculars you can hire for £1.
The production started in black and white and a chap in the dugout played many of the right notes on the piano. Dorothy sang in key very well and Toto was a teddy bear and she was generally a spoilt brat. The stagehands had a few sticky moments especially when the curtain fell on them and the witch dropped her hat twice and it was great. I liked the noises off and the projection of a plughole vortex on the OHP representing the twister/hallucination.
The Munchkins were numerous (and one of them was Poppy) and danced in formation apart from the smallest who toyed distractedly with her head-mike until she came alive and delivered 4 lines perfectly. There were a few uncomfortable silences not including the Vicked Vitch of the Vest who was excruciatingly loud.
view from dress circle of kings theatreIn the poppy field scene, Poppy was poppy #3 stage left, instead of poppy #1, missed a trick there. Fortunately, all the way through there was a 2 year-old girl right behind me who kept saying "Wossee doo-in? Whyza tree dun that?" etc very loudly until she demanded to go home when the lion appeared, but this was fortunately offset by some mature ladies on the other side who discussed Co-op vouchers and the difficulty of getting to Bournemouth airport.
In the interval we found the bar and loaded up on fruit shoot and Pringles and discovered the entire Poppy family sitting 2 rows from my position. Part 2 had some very long dance numbers of unknown purpose and lengthy piano solos while scenes and costumes were changed. Pops appeared as a third character with green lipstick and the Wizard himself was a giant child's face projected onto a screen with a Goa'Uld voice-changer from Stargate. He had a couple of problems handing out the goodies at the end not helped by howl-rounds on the actor mics but I loved it all.
The youth group is very good and I am torn between stage-fright and thinking I could do better. Bedtime was 10pm on the nose. In other news, today we bought a personalised numberplate, in my honour. Golly Gosh, life is dull.

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