The Questors is always a thrive of bustleness in December, what with the the swarms of kiddies circling the pantomime, both onstage and audience, and their haggard parents downing a swift half in the Grapevine to brace up to the he’s-behind-yous. Over in the Studio, an equally silly if more adult comedy plays to packed houses while the tea room in the Upper Foyer has doubled its bunting for the season.
Here in the Archives we are forever losing our unpaid interns to the bright lights of an evening’s theatrics. They are especially attracted to the aforementioned Alan Ayckbourne happening in the Studio, and one of its themes in particular – the sonnetting detective. He is the product of one of the characters’ literomania, dashing off whodunnits faster than the corpses can fall in a dozen Agatha Christie soirée. Improbable Fiction indeed, for everyone knows that the pulp dectective, be he in paperback or DVD, must be a workaholic, alcoholic, humourless, self-righteous, divorcé.
What use has such a flatfoot for a pithy couplet or apposite bon mot ? How can one who must dredge the depths of human depravity come up waxing on roses ? Surely rhymes have no place in such a prose-laden world ? And yet, such characters are always shown as rule-breakers, risk-takers and churlish romantics, so why not dabble in a little Wordsworth, Clare or Young while examining the latest body in the library ?
Lots of potential ’tecs at this week’s workshop: John Hurley opened proceedings with a poignant peace on Alzheimers, while Donata Sotnik-Kondycki spun us a likely story and Daphne Gloag examined the evidence for the Golden Fleece. Meanwhile, Pat Francis has been keeping a watch on some masters of disguise while a thorough sifting of the facts concerning stars has been keeping Peter Francis at his desk. Martin Choules was looking shifty as he read us his statement on Peace on Earth and lack of faith, while Doig Simmonds told us of the word he dare not tell, and Anne Furneaux suspected the famous designer William Morris of some double-dealing. Finally, William Morton shamelessly stole a popular tune to slip in some new words when no-one was looking.
Well, just like presents on Christmas Eve, this case is about wrapped up. But humbugs that we are, we will be meeting as usual on both the 27th and the 3rd. And, as Inspector Morse never said, Merry Christmas one and all !