Unbeknown to most, the event was to take on more of the appearance of a full production thanks to Nick's organisation and imagination. With the help of Sean, Paul & Phil there was sound, there was lighting and there was a fabulous set in the form of 6 recently acquired flats of Dickensian figures. All seemed totally in-hand until the 'canicule' threatened to scupper the proceedings but, thanks to a supply of fans and jugs of cold water to keep everyone as refreshed as possible, the show was able to go on with an audience of some 55 guests.
Sean acted as warm-up man and MC, introducing some 13 acts ranging from monologues and poems - some by well-known authors, others written by the performers themselves - to songs and sketches. Special mention here must be made of Dinner for One performed by Phil and Jacqueline. If you don't know this piece then you don't know what you're missing! Do go on YouTube to watch the original which has become cult viewing in Germany every New Year - it's hysterical! The amount of work that went into both the set and the performance was simply outstanding.
And, as they say "That's all folks" - or rather, it should have been. What very few people knew was that there was a secret finale, arranged by Nick with the help primarily of Gary, Jane and Sue. And the reason? My '0' birthday, the following day. In an unguarded moment some years ago, I had told Nick that, as a child, I'd always adored The King and I and my greatest wish was to wear a ballgown like Anna and to dance around a ballroom. And that's exactly what I did!! I had no idea of what was to happen but was brought on stage where I had been watching from the audience and then, having been dressed in a beautiful ballgown, I was whirled around the floor to "Shall we Dance?" with Gary as 'The King'. It's not often that I'm lost for words but I was totally overwhelmed by the occasion, by the love and thought that had gone into making it happen. It was a truly memorable moment and one that I hope was enjoyed by the others there too. ETC, and those that make up the company, has a very special place in my heart - along with Yul Brynner!!!!