The wedding in the West
I usually don’t do private events in the summer but as August is a strangely quiet month for events. I don’t know why just always has been, so I accepted a booking to perform my cabaret show for Alan and Polly’s wedding, planned for last Friday. It sounded lovely. A home wedding on the meadow at the back of their house somewhere near Preston. Maximum of 40 guests and a good spattering of children. A quiet family occasion was promised, as was some good food and a reasonable fee.
I had a long four hour drive to arrive there and as I travelled the weather became more and more mirky. By the time I arrived the hot August sunshine I left had given way to a spattering of rain and things looked even bleaker on the BBC Weather on the iPhone.
When I arrived at the house Alan and Polly had already decided to transfer the entire ceremony to a small marquee which had originally been intended as the food tent. Outside the marquee were three hastily-erected even smaller garden gazebos, one of which was allocated to me and my show. You’ve seen my show probably. I’m very prop dependent. I can’t believe I once had an entire half hour show which fitted into a Gladstone Bag. Anyway once I’d decanted the essentials for the show from the car into the tiny space there wasn’t any room for anyone else, so if the rain was to come, the audience would have to fit into the two gazebos with me in the other. The three gazebos were placed in a kind of L shape so the space that was left would fit the chair balance and as the threatened rain hadn’t really materialised I spread the props around and made as good use of the space as I could.
During the wedding ceremony the rain started again so I re-arranged everything so the props at the edges of the gazebo were the ones that would cope with being damp. As the ceremony came to an end there was a break in the rain and it looked for a time that all would be well.
The show was timed for the end of the food. The rain had kept off more or less and I started the show. There were thirty or so wedding guests crammed into the two small gazebos and me in the third. Of course this was the cue for the real rain to start. I can honestly say in my forty-five years of performing I have never performed in such conditions. It lashed down. I had the choice to call it a day but then I would have let everyone down so, a little foolishly, I said that if they stayed I would carry on so from then on we all had no choice. They had to stay and I had to do the show. The chair balance wouldn’t fit under the marquee so I did this in the open. The gaps between the three marquees were waterfalls that had to be crossed from time to time so everyone could see. The wet made sleights of hand very challenging. The photographer said she has some amazing photos of the occasion. Everyone laughed and clapped and it was just one of those occasions when we British seem to rise above all the odds and face whatever is thrown at us with good spirits and a smile. After the show everyone was very appreciative and Alan and Polly were amazed and happy it had all gone down so well.
Half an hour after the end of the show the sun came out. Typical. Everything I had was soaked. I packed away what I could, spread things out in the car for the long drive back and changed back into my dry clothes.
I’ve spent today drying everything out and there was no harm done. A few water wrinkles here and there but nothing damaged. Even the feather dusters emerged unscathed from the deluge.
I can’t wait to see the photos and will publish them here when I have them.
All the best from a road near you,