The Club was proud to celebrate the ninetieth birthday of our Sovereign Lady, Queen Elizabeth II and to drink the loyal toast in Spanish Cava.
Presentations and performances by two of our members took us back to the era of her famous ancestor, the first Queen Elizabeth, in a celebration of four centuries since Shakespeare’s death. Chris Walbank’s opening words took us straight to London’s Bankside in the year 1593, the year Shakespeare arrived in London – in a description of the city before our eyes: its sanitation, its palaces, theatres, cathedral and London Bridge spanning the river and sporting on pikes on the Southwark end the heads of recusant traitors. Michael Coles then regaled us with an amazing account of King James’s and Shakespeare’s fascination with witches and the supernatural at a time when a witch was burnt in Britain every two days!
There followed hard upon a feat of great thesbian daring: two of the bard’s best known plays reduced at the quill of Mr Coles into some six minutes of rhyming couplets. Mr Walbank gave us first the pocket version of ‘Hamlet: Prince of Denmark’ and the day’s entertainment was concluded by Mr Coles’s barn-storming vignette ‘Macbeth’. The Club members may have been somewhat mystified but if their applause was an indication of enjoyment, a good time appears to have been had by all.
Such occasions make one proud to be European in our special British way!