'They can put a man on the moon - you'd think they'd invent something to keep your bra straps up'
We all nod sagely in agreement and mentally hoike those recalcitrant straps back into place. Our Speaker - at this stage in full and vivid slap, state of undress and sans wig, winks knowingly and does the same. We laugh and await the next stage in the transformation of mild mannered man to Pantomime Dame.
This was an evening unexpectedly well spent - and amusing to boot. Our Speaker at this WI group meeting was costumier and actor Richard Westcott whose seasonal role of Dame provided the anecdotes for his presentation 'Confession of a Pantomime Dame'.
I have to pinch myself to prove that this surreal experience is actually taking place. (I do find myself in some very strange places watching some very strange things these days.) Am I really sitting here in a creaky village hall, on an even creakier chair watching a man apply bright blue eye shadow and bright pink blusher, wearing a bra that even dear Jordan would struggle to fill? My fellow audience members have an average age of 70 - indeed I have brought oldsters Lily, 74 and Mrs Francis, 91 with me tonight. Mrs Francis has gone to sit at front so she is able to hear. I wonder if she will get involved helping on stage as our Dame plucks members of the audience out to get him dressed - and undressed. This of course amuses the audience no end.
Finally, and rigged like a ship in full sail, our Dame launches himself into his role and the evening ends with a stream of 'Oh No she didn'ts!', 'Oh yes she dids!' One side of the audience competes with the other for the dubious title of who can out-sing the other. Much applause, a Vote of Thanks and it's time for tea and cakes all round.
Nota bene: I forgot the Draw - there's always a Draw and it's de rigeur to buy a strip of tickets. A word of advice: The trick seems to be, after the wine, the chocolates and the basket of fruit - all usefully consumable - to lose your tickets because the prizes can get very dodgy after that. (As it happens none of my numbers came up so I wasn't faced with the agonising decision: 20 2 ply supper napkins or 6 floral melamine plates?)