September 2018 - Rector's Ramblings

I have persistently caught myself singing these last few days.

On an evenings in August, I watched ‘Me and My Girl’ at the Chichester Festival Theatre, I went to see ‘Mamma Mia: here we go again!’ at the Chichester Gate Cinema. I wasn’t expecting great things of either production, … but I left, singing.

I saw ‘Me and My Girl’ previously at the Adelphi Theatre on the Strand, London, in 1985 or 1986. The starring role was played by Robert Lindsay (for me: ‘Wolfie’ from BBC’s ‘Citizen Smith’), and his was a fantastic, energetic, physical performance at which you can take a look on You Tube by Googling ‘Me and My Girl, Robert Lindsay’. It was enormous fun to me in my early twenties, though I’m sure there are far more complete musicals to be seen on the West End or other stage.

When it came to book for Chichester, I had some doubts that Matt Lucas was ever going to live up to the sheer energy and athleticism of his predecessor in the role. Comedic, yes; but double-jointed and spring-heeled, perhaps no.

In the event, the production tailored itself carefully to the realistic abilities of its leading man, and an evening of good fun and fond wit ensued. And we all left, singing (and dancing) the Lambeth Walk.

Pan forward a couple of days, and I was very happy to see the new Mamma Mia film, despite knowing that I’d never been a real fan of the 1970s Swedish pop quartet Abba. Still, they were very much to the liking of many of my generation; I knew most of the songs; and I was in the mood for a light feel-good evening. Off to Chichester again …

Once more, it was a highly enjoyable evening, and our group of six nostalgiosas returned westwards with a wiggle of the hips, and strains of ‘Knowing me, Knowing you’ or ‘Waterloo’ on our lips.

And so it has been in the few days that have followed. Isn’t it funny how songs can get inside your head? Especially songs with a story, and with an evident energy or happiness to their performance.

Isn’t it great when songs lift us out of ourselves, and set us singing, and our feet tapping, and bring a smile to our faces?

Many of us live too much of our lives in sadness. Sometimes that is a direct consequence of situations beyond our control, and no element of condemnation is appropriate; but, equally, others of us are reluctant to smile, or laugh, or let go into a happiness that could be ours.

It’s no crime to smile, as my Nanna would say. And sometimes, honest, hopeful, joyful entertainment, can be the blessed key to the door of such relaxation. Even when we’re least expecting it. So, let your guard down… Be surprised... And I say, ‘thank you for the music .. for giving it to me!’

Kind wishes, 

Andrew Doye, Rector

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