It’s not unusual for us to go to the pub, down the Dolphin on a Sunday night, in fact, it’s quite usual to drift down about nine thirty-ish to meet up with our friends the two T’s. We haven’t seen them recently as one of them has been away for a while with his wife, and we have been otherwise occupied with a quiz at the New Inn in Kewstoke, a gig, a slight mishap involving a kerb and a very belated family meal out for daughter’s birthday which was last August…. Back to last night and going down the Dolphin…
We went down early, at about seven; why was that? it was because there was an event, a theatrical event being performed in the actual pub! Theatre Orchard was bringing a play, ‘Horses,Horses,’ into the pub as part of a tour of local hostelries! What a brilliant idea!
We got down early which was just as well because lots of other people had the same idea. We walked in and there were unusual things all around, a standard lamp with a fringed shade on one table, an accordion, and at the end of the bar we usually sit in was a sheet draped across in front of the ladies’ toilet with the pub name ‘The Nag’s Head’. There were a few unknown people wandering about – not new pubbers but actors as it turned out, and suddenly the play was off at a trot!
There was the landlord, Johnny, who to be honest seemed to have had a drink or two as he loudly greeted us, making jokes about various of the regulars… I have to say, that Johnny was one of the actors, the regulars were us actual regulars! Johnny launched into a bit of a rant about a subject I actually feel very strongly about – pub closures. He was becoming increasingly desperate as he fought to make a profit, burrowing into his savings, selling his wife’s beloved horse… it rang so true, even though it was funny and there was a lot of banter and audience participation.
We all joined in heartily as the play progressed, charting the tragic story of Johnny’s pathetic desperation which leads to his wife leaving him to go and live in a mouldering caravan on local farmer,Ted’s farm. It seems almost surreal that another issue, the treatment of Native American people and their horses is brought into the story – but it works, it works magnificently. There are no actual horses, nor people dressed as horses, but the animals are fantastically invoked by the powerful acting of the different characters.
I laughed and laughed, I felt anger for the plight of Johnny and his wife, I was actually moved to tears at points – and this is with the actors sometimes literally inches from us – sitting and lying on the table we had our drinks on (which we hastily removed!) I have been to so many theatre productions, seen so many plays, some with well-known actors, but I can’t remember one which moved me as much as this did – and involved me, and made me laugh.
It was a fantastic evening and we were in good company of friends, and after the play finished, we discovered the 2 T’s, sitting in the other bar so were able to catch up with them and their news.
If you live in The Weston-super-Mare area, you can catch the performance at other village pubs local to here. Here is a link to the Facebook page where you can see some photos: