On a cold and frosty evening, Santa stopped off in Derbyshire during a whistlestop tour of the world to find out if all the boys and girls had been good this year.
He likes to get organised in good time does Father Christmas which could explain why he was on a pre-festive recce to our county, nearly three weeks ahead of his busiest night.
Sympathies lay with his long-suffering wife, left home alone while her hirsute hubby supervised the elves making toys or harnessed the reindeer to his sleigh. Surely this is grounds for divorcing what we believe is a larger-than-life, happy fellow but who according to his grumpy spouse, is a sullen workaholic who drinks too much egg nog.
Before I get accused of coming across all Grinch-like, let me point out that the above domestic disharmony is all a figment of Matlock Musical Theatre Company’s vivid imagination. As far as I know, Mr and Mrs Claus are happily living together in Lapland. So the tubby chap might be shunning household chores this week, including washing his three pairs of sweaty long johns, but he must be worn out after all that travelling.
Saturday’s excursion was an awfully big adventure for the 21 members of the musical theatre company who took 40 spectators on a magical sleigh ride, under the auspices of World Wide Christm@s.
Guided by musical director Delph Richards and accompanied by two musicans, the company set the rafters ringing at Matlock’s Imperial Rooms.
Christmas songs from as far-flung places as Austria and Africa were rolled out. Seasonal stories were aired including one about the creation of Austrian carol Stille Nacht (Silent Night), which was one of two carols blending the language of the country of origin with English. Particularly charming was the story about what gifts children leave out for Santa, including bowls of rice pudding and mince pies and Guinness.
Like a tin of Quality Street, everyone had their favourite song. Mine was the traditional African offering, Born This Day to the Son of God, which was exquisitely performed; I’ve never heard so many voices singing so quietly and with such an effect as this company did in this beautiful song.
There were plenty of laughs along the way, especially in Rolf Harris’s 1960s’ hit Six White Boomers, complete with John Kersey dressed as a kangaroo playing a wobble board and Jo Petch as the abandoned Joey sitting on the knee of Santa who was wearing a hat trimmed with corks.
What a jolly good time we all had as we tucked into mince pies, opened the gifts from Santa and had a good old sing-song in the chaotic 12 Days Of Christmas.