Last week Sludge Hall Farm hosted the Bodger’s Spinney Travelling Players, a troupe of bodkin- and whisk-wielding theatrical persons famed for their reconstructions of historical episodes. Their current production, the one that had the Sludge Hall Farm yokels gawping, was a dramatisation of the first Blunkett resignation of 2004. That was the one where, relinquishing the post of Home Secretary, our hero went on television and spoke mawkishly, tearfully, and repeatedly about “the little lad”, a bit of homespun phraseology designed to tug the heartstrings of the nation. It certainly had that effect on the Sludge Hall Farm farmhands, at least when acted by Bodger’s Spinney’s most accomplished thespian, Vlasto Harbinge. The racket made by the peasants’ copious sobbing almost drowned out the closing peroration by the chorus.
In order to have sufficient pretext for wielding their bodkins and whisks, the Players set their Blunkettorama in the fourteenth century. This also allowed them to incorporate the gruesome battle scenes for which they have become notorious. In a particularly splendid segment, the Home Secretary’s trusty guide dog Ruby – or possibly Teddy or Offa or Lucy or Sadie – single-pawedly fought off a pack of rabid wolves egged on by spectral wolfmen armed with the requisite bodkins and whisks. It was extremely exciting and convincing, and, at the curtain call, the costume designer was hauled on to the stage to receive a bouquet. Sludge Hall Farm being the kind of farm it is, her gift was one of nettles and bindweed, but no less welcome for that.
“The Bodger’s Spinney Travelling Players With Vlasto Harbinge Present The First And Most Traumatic Of The Resignations From Ministerial Office Of David Blunkett MP, The Elected Member For Sheffield Brightside” is now on bailiwickwide tour. Hooting Yard Rating : 15 planetoids.
NOTE : No cows were harmed during the making of this amateur dramatic extravaganza