Lamb Players performed a last event, “A Farewell Christmas Evening”, over three performances on Sunday December 17. The National Trust, which owns Lamb House, will be taking over when the present tenancy ends early next year, so this was the final fling.
For these final Christmas celebrations, the professional actors performed standing on the staircase leading up from the hall to perform the music and readings. The hall itself had a beautiful Christmas tree, green and gold garlands and was looking very festive in the low lights as the show began.
It was perhaps a more thoughtful presentation of different writings and music this time, with a powerful rendering of The Christmas Truce by Carol Ann Duffy, about the happenings on Christmas Eve in the First World War trenches. Using both words and music, particularly the carol Silent Night, we were brought to the battlefield and the breaking out of peace for a few hours for the troops from all sides. A Henry James reading described his visit to a north of England workhouse, whilst he was staying with a large house party, taken by his hostess, the benefactress who had given a wonderful sparkling tree and small gifts for all the children, both really touching and emotional at this time of year.
A clever take on Gilbert and Sullivan’s the Major-General’s Song, but using names from Charles Dickens’ stories, was a triumph of singing and breath control! It lightened the mood and the performance came to an end as the cast sung us a “Very, very merry Lamb House Christmas” for the very last time. After this rousing send off, we followed the invitation to mulled wine and mince pies into the dining room, joined by the excellent cast.
The Lamb Players have been delighting the Rye faithful since 2009 and it was sad to think this is the last time they will play. Thanks to Francesca Rowan Plowden for setting up, encouraging her friends and producing, organising and contributing to all these events, and for Patrick and Jacquetta Rogers’ hospitality.
Photo: Patrick Rogers