New Members’ Night
The September Meeting, after completion of a rather uneventful AGM, was entertained by the usual annual display of new talent from members who had recently joined the Fellowship.
Introduced by Julian Clarke, the first 'cab off the rank' was Rae Anthony who gave us a reading from "Great Expectations", the episode where Pip is given a much-needed lesson in table etiquette. She also related an amusing episode from a Hartwell Players version of "Oliver Twist" in which Nancy actually had a child!
Second was a 'double act' by Melinda Facey and Anne-Marie Fish. They presented three passages from "A Tale of Two Cities". First, from early in the book describing the burst wine cask and the activity it caused in the cobbled street of St Antoine. Second was a description of Madame Defarge as we meet her. Third was a 'duet' from late in the novel where Madame Defarge and Miss Pross confront each other with grim determination and deadly effect.
Next came Dennis Marriott, who gave us two readings from different novels; a graphic description of fog in London from "Our Mutual Friend", and a description of the Maypole from "Barnaby Rudge".
Jennifer Johnstone then gave us two readings from "Bleak House", showing two views of Chesney Wold by Esther, one when she first saw it, and another (in quite a different light) after she had learnt Lady Dedlock's secret; a subtle contrast there!
We ran out of new members when the night was still comparatively young, so Ann Douglas stepped into the breech with three episodes from "Great Expectations”: first, the death of Mrs Joe and its effect on Pip; second, a talk with Biddy about the manner of her death; and third, - a very affecting scene this - the death of Magwitch.
All the readings were presented with real involvement and a good sense of Dickens's intentions and use of language. We congratulate them, and look forward to hearing more from the 'new crop' next year.