Musicals were our thing at Land's End Players.*
Guys and Dolls, Finian's Rainbow, Annie Get Your Gun, Bittersweet - cutting edge stuff. Any really ambitious show with a cast of thousands, requiring an American accent and considerable dancing skills. And at Christmas we did panto.
There's a strong tradition of song in Cornwall, so no shortage of singers. Our leading lady - a real "voice" - played the romantic lead as a matter of course. The leading man was pushing it a bit to call himself the juvenile lead: stout and proper Cornish and perhaps not the ideal choice for Sky Masterson. Other mature local ladies obliged as dancers or in the chorus. Yes, folks, in my youth (38) I was a Hot Box Doll.
I also painted the scenery - wildly ambitious and given to falling over. The stage was eight trestle tables, lashed together. Performances took place in the church hall, which was meant to seat a maximum of 80 but on panto nights accommodated a hundred plus, with children on the granite window ledges, 7 feet above the floor.
Our producer was from Up North and in accordance with tradition had been born in a trunk. What she lacked in size she made up for in temperament. At some point in every production she would flounce out. LOOK AT YOU! she would scream to the motley band of farmers and fishermen. DRESS REHEARSAL IS ON APRIL 10 AND IT'S ALREADY JANUARY!
A delegation would be sent to her house to talk her round, which involved chocolates and humble pie.
We rehearsed in the barn, just up the road from the pub. After rehearsals it was straight back to the pub, where the more extravert cast members played Truth, Dare. Secrets, as well as body parts, were exposed fo the world to enjoy. Affairs were rife, and it was reckoned that one pregnancy was set in motion for every production staged.
All my London friends came down for a good laugh, and were not disappointed. But joining the Land's End Players was the best thing we ever did. We got to know some brilliant local characters, and had the best fun it's possible to have in a wig.
* Not the real name. I've got to live here, dammit!