Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Up In Court - the results

For those who couldn't be there, and for those who did and would like to recapture that glorious, if sweltering, evening, here, is a report on what happened, written by Peter Thompson. You'll see it in the next programme, but they won't be published till August, by which time it might become a distant memory. Anyway...

Six authors were UP IN COURT on 27 June for a variety of misdemeanours. THE PARADISE ISLANDS by Peter Vincent should be mentioned first because it was the only drama set in a recognisable court of law: a civil claim brought against Phil Philmar for serial plagiarism, mostly from TS Eliot. Regrettably it over-ran. This may have been due to the time spent on unavailing efforts to call McCavity to give evidence and on the defendant’s protracted death-bed scene which included floating down a brook, being bitten by an asp and ending with a whimper.

The other play to be disqualified for excessive length was RATTUS NORVEGICUS by Kevin Connor, in which Chris Prior played a Yorkshire rat-catcher (in dialect) and his lady barrister, Fiona McKinnon, tried to find excuses for his frightening Lady Titbury to death by invading her bedroom dressed as a giant rat.

Of the rest, Debbie Maya’s REDEMPTION DAY came fourth with 130 points. It was a trial-in-heaven case in which Giles Armstrong gave a terrifying performance as an unrepentant Adolf Hitler. Bill Gordon’s A SQUEAK IN THE NIGHT made third place. There was an exciting moment when Mrs Hudson (Eilzabeth Yuill, of course) knocked out Inspector Lestrade with a rolling pin, followed by an even more exciting one when the Hound of the Baskervilles (PV’s finest role) bounded in and slobbered all over Sherlock Philmar until dispatched with Watson’s service revolver and 172 points.

In second place we had Giles Armstrong back in form with OFF WITH HER HEAD, a bizarre application to the Chancery Court for the Duchy of Clarence, by the very eloquent Hannah Mercer, for the sealing of an ancient writ of damnosa aeternam that would allow her to be beheaded with a samurai sword. You may wonder, as did our golden oldies Colin Pinney and Richards Evans, how such things could be: but if you had been in the audience you would have understood the necessities of the plot and approved the award of 173 points.

Way out in front, with 190 points, was CROWN VERSUS CROWN by Carrie Eden. This proved to be a re-run of a sub plot of Midsummer Night’s Dream, a custody dispute over the child of, as it turned out, the two advocates Karl Niklas and Sakuntala Ramanee. The latter had the compelling lines “No advocate am I, but like sweet Portia, Am no better than I oughter”! Judge Colin Pinney rounded off the proceedings by bidding us “And so all to your bowers fly; Go forth, my lieges, multiply”. And so we did.

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