28th Jan 2012
A trip to Willingale on behalf of Essex On Tour.
We felt a real affinity with Willingale: The Opera Dudes is often spoken of a an act with two Knaves; Willingale, similarly, is well-known as a village with 2 naves. Well, 2 churches to be precise! While the image of Essex on telly is all fast cars, handbags and modern living, the Essex we see on tour is full of ancient history, friendly villages and beautiful scenery.
Willingale was no different; great community, lovely people and houses that have been there for hundreds of years. We arrived just as the Panto rehearsal finished and they left us their stage, their lighting and the back of their horse - o no they didn't!
The hospitality was unsurpassed. Viv and Ken were our delightful hosts, presenting us on arrival with tea and biscuits the size of Moses' tablets - thou shalt not eat more than one!
We then met the charming Caroline who was organising the event - it was her first and I don't think we gave her too many headaches - and whose casserole was much better than she gave it credit!
The show went down a storm; even the 'Pink Lady' enjoyed it, although she probably wished she had stayed within the safe confines of the bar! Neil nearly got an earful from a certain gentleman when he sat next to him dressed like a 'local' at the beginning of the show, but once they realised what was going on, the audience warmed up and we were away!
The good people of Essex expressed themselves well pleased – not so much dancing around handbags as cheering to the rafters, which is just fine by us!