A great time was had by all at this year’s Epiphany Supper. With the church rooms packed to capacity, it took a medieval theme this year and, as ever, this flavoured both the meal prepared by choir mums and the entertainment afterwards.
Proceedings got underway with some carols sung by the choir – a reminder of music sung at services in the approach to Christmas – who then joined their audience for a splendid repast of Camelot Casserole followed by desserts including Jester’s Fool and Old Dragon’s Apple Crumble. Generous portions were the order of the day and, over coffee, a range of glittering – well, slightly sparkling – prizes were raffled.
Based very loosely on Chaucer, the entertainment comprised a series of tableaux beginning with Sir Chantalot’s Tale. This revolved around a quest pursued by a motley crew of knights around the cathedrals of England for the Holy Cassock.
For many years they criss-crossed the country, staying in cheap lodging houses, riding on steam trains, playing football, feeding on fancy cheeses and bottles of Ros wine.
The observation that the party needed protection from the younger members of the party – the Knighties – cued the entry of the choristers swiftly. They were swiftly followed by Sir Joe O’ver-the-top Brien, who promptly put them – and the Vicar – through some sword drill.
Then followed Sir Earnest Headstrong’s Tale. A fictional resident of Mill Lane, Romsey, this character is always played by Peter Brook and seems to crop up – in one guise or another – virtually every year. He was fed up with being typecast in the entertainment and had decided to make a clean break of it, making a move to Lincoln with the love of his life, Ethelflaeda, Romsey’s own Sainted Lady.
The Nun’s Tale swiftly mutated into How do you solve a problem like Bridget (Peter’s wife), when she announced that she was off to Lincoln and her fellow Nuns all revealed in turn that, as they had sons in the choir, they were not eligible to succeed here as Mother Superior. Hence they too set off on a quest around the town look for somebody anybody who could take over.
Barney’s Tale, a cameo performance by the Vicar’s cairn terrier (ably impersonated by Rob Gower) quite brought the house down:
Now, many will know that I have a game,
A game that is fun and is never the same.
I play it at any old time of the day,
Though it’s played at its best when my Master’s away.
I crouch with the letterbox firmly in sight
All ready to give some poor soul a fright;
And the moment some letters appear through the slot
I bark and I leap and I grab hold of the lot!
I rip them and throw them all over the hall.
I shake them and growl and I chew them up small.
I sink in my teeth with all of my might,
Though they never appear to put up a fight!
When Master returns and asks for his mail
I stand there triumphantly wagging my tail.
At my feet’s the remains of the letters and bills,
Showing my prowess at slaughtering skills.
At the end of the quest, collecting the vicar on their way, the Knights returned to the stage and broke into psalmody to sing his praises before entreating him to sing My Way; despite protesting ‘I hate this song!’ he deliver a positively operatic rendition
The performance concluded on a philosophical note:
Whilst changes can be difficult,
We never should lose heart.
Whilst all good things have endings,
They also have a start.
And Romsey’s been a time when all
Our journeys shared that way.
Let’s look forward to the future,
Till we meet again some day.
What more is there to say? Thanks to everybody who helped to make this another memorable evening.