Sunday, 16 October 2011

In Which I Have a Simply Wonderful Day

Yesterday was my birthday. I was feeling a bit ambivalent about it, what with the getting older and older, and the inevitable musings on life, however, I then remembered that I had good friends coming to visit, and fun things planned, and felt a lot more cheerful about it!
My friends arrived from Manchester on Friday evening, in time for us to enjoy a leisurely meal (with cake!) and several glasses of wine, as we caught up, and just relaxed together.

Then yesterday, which turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day, we had a long lunch in Bradford on Avon, then spent the afternoon in Bath (1 pub, 1 independent bookshop) followed by a delicious Nepalese meal, and then Simon Callow's one-man show "Dr Marigold and Mr Chops", which was great!
Picture from BTR website
The show is Simon Callow performing two of Charles Dickens' monologues:

The first, about Mr Chops, was a short story published for Christmas 1858  entitled "Going into society", narrated by Mr Magsman, a showman, about a Dwarf known as Mr Chops who wins the lottery and goes into society. Although having its moments of pathos, it's very funny, and Mr Callow is excellent at doing all the voices!

The second, about Dr. Marigold (He was named "Doctor" after the Doctor who delivered him!) is longer, and although it has a lot of humour in it it, is a real tear-jerker. Narrated by Mr Callow in the character of Dr. Marigold, a cheap-jack, describing his marriage to an increasingly bad tempered woman, her cruelty towards their daughter, the child's death from illness and his subsequent adoption of a 'deaf-and-dumb' child, who had herself been neglected and abused.  Being dickens, it's not surprising that there is a deal of sentimentality, but before the happy ending there is a lot of (still relevant) content about poverty, grief, politics, discrimination and domestic abuse, and Callow's Dr. Marigold is a well-rounded, complete character, whose loneliness and grief comes across between the comedy moments.

It was a superb performance, and made for a thoroughly enjoyable evening. And all in all, the combination of good friends, good entertainment, and delicious food, wine and beer made for a great way to celebrate my birthday, and left me feeling set up for the year to come.

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