20:00 The Rose and Thistle, Frimley Green
20:45 The Squirrel, North Camp
21:30 The Princess Royal, Runfold
22:15 The White Hart, Tongham
Unfortunately, we were unable to find a driver for the Yella Bus, so we travelled by car – the passengers are extremely grateful to the drivers (Janet and Tim), as it is a great shame not be able to take advantage of the landlords’ generosity that one always hopes will surface on these occasions.
The Yateley Village Mummers assembled in the car park at the Rose & Thistle, where the darts match ended just in time for us to occupy the oche. A couple of ladies in the audience appeared to be dressed as flappers from the 1920s; we never found out why, perhaps we never asked. YMM have rarely danced at the Rose & Thistle, but it would appear to be a more salubrious venue than memory suggests, so maybe it will appear on the programme again.
The Squirrel has been danced recently, and the mummers were made very welcome; landlady Helen, who was enjoying a family supper in the pub, treating us to a pint (you can see some of the performance at on The Squirrels’ Facebook page ).
The Princess Royal, reached via a convoluted route which entailed driving both ways on the A31, of course is an old dancing haunt, having featured in Day of Dance itineraries before, and The White Hart is an old favourite (see their Facebook page for another video). Post-mumming, the landlord treated us to a very palatable glass of Secret Santa, and explained to some of us the difficulties of running a pub for a chain, and trying to keep the pub going whilst half a mile from a brewery whose beer he cannot buy directly.
We didn’t have a narrator, so as if designed to confuse, a character dressed as a mediaeval crusader burst into each pub, only to be revealed later by Father Christmas (dressed in green to add to the audience’s perplexity, resplendent in new illuminated headdress) as the nasty, wicked King George. Boo, hiss!
Ross had succumbed to the festive lurgh, so Andy P stepped in as a very Gallic looking Noble Captain; he claimed not to be firing on all cylinders either, but you wouldn’t have guessed it by his enthusiastic performance.
The Noble Captain, Red Morocca King and the Turkish Night were dispatched in their turn, as was Little Swing Swang, but not before wowing the audiences with perhaps the campest performances yet.
The Doctor, in his guise as a barber surgeon fresh from a shift with Virgin Care, continued to accept payment in Bitcoin, perhaps encouraged by the upturn in said crypto-currency’s market performance in the preceding days. The young lady nearly wearing a little white dress celebrating her engagement at The Princess Royal was just a little taken aback at being found out as a very well-preserved woman of four-score years and ten, but a toffee from Father Christmas’s stocking later pacified her…and her fiancé wasn’t watching anyway!
The healing rituals took place (in one pub the Doctor actually caught his pill as Turkish Knight projectile vomited it), and the evil monarch was dealt with by Father Christmas’s quarterstaff, shortened to a dimension more appropriate for indoor fighting during the performance on New Year’s Day. The closing song was sung lustily, and as has been remarked, with a fifty percent hit rate on the subtle “your cellar’s full of beer” hint.
Another most enjoyable Twelfth Night Tour, with our thanks to Ian for organising it.
Cast in order of appearance:
Announcer and King George Ian Sutherland
Father Christmas Peter Stapleton
Noble Captain Andy Pobjoy
Red Morocca King Paul Lethbridge
Turkish Night Tom Brady
Little Swig Swang Andy Armitage
Doctor Tim Lloyd