The Warburton Souling Play - Performances 2004
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Details of the progress of the 2004 season's performances will be posted here as it happens so check back as this season progresses. Remember we're out from the 1st the the 6th November this year. So here we go:

The First Night - Monday 1st Nov

Here we are again another First Night gone. As is tradition we started at the Saracen's Head in Warburton with the first performance and then took the Play 'out' for the forthcoming week to return it back home to the Saracen's Head on Saturday 6th November.

Monday is never a good night to start on, however, as we're not in any position to do anything about the nature of the Gregorian calender, every few years we end up with a Monday as a first night. Having said that as far as Mondays go this turned out to be good.

Unfortunately the Saracen's Head was it's usual sparsely populated self for a Monday - and half of the audience we had departed half way through. The group of youngsters were obviously not sure of what was going on, they'd never seen such an event and probably chose to bottle-out in case they became embarrassed! Only other blunder here was Beelzebub missing the 'set-up' pint on the bar provided by the bar staff. He'll never live that one down.

Next stop was the Axe and Cleaver in Dunham. This is a well patronised pub these days (as compared with a number of years ago) however, being a Monday evening I guess we had as many as we could expect for that night of the week. It was nevertheless well received and Beelzebub had his first pint of the season. Following being bought a round by the Landlord, to whom we send our best thanks, we moved on to the Rope and Anchor.

The Rope and Anchor was, for a Monday, and even most weekday evenings up until recently, quite well populated. The turnabout due in no small part to the enthusiasm of the new management couple for whom this is their first licensed premises. A very good job they're doing and we look forward to next year which being a Tuesday will see a local vintage motor club meeting there.

Last we went to the Vine and arrived just in time for the end of the Quiz. One full, heaving Pub and very attentive as well. A fitting end to the evening - and we helped them finish the butties too! Thanks again to the Landlord for the beer round at the end of the performance.

The Second Night - Wednesday 3rd Nov

We were looking forward to this night with the introduction of a new pub to the venues list. The evening in the end did not go without a hitch though.

The first pub on the list was the Jolly Thresher at Agden and as expected it was a quiet start to the evening. The performance was a little flat as a result but did get us into the swing of things.

From here it was into Lymm and a walk round the pubs there. We'd arranged to perform in the Golden Fleece at 9.10pm prior to a quiz getting under way, however, arrival there found a heaving pub but not for a quiz instead they we're all watching the football on a number of large screens. Discretion being vital in this game we decided to give it a miss and instead went straight to the Bull on the other side of the road. Following a very enthusiastic reception from both the audience and landlord (and a drink 'on the house') we headed off to the Saddler's Arms.

On the way however, we went back via the Golden Fleece where we found the football had finished so in we went. A very noisy but enthusiastic reception calling for a very boisterous performance.

From here it was onto the Saddler's Arms, a relatively new pub and a venue we’d not done before. It was as we’d hoped a very fine environment in which to play and, was as expected very well received.

Last for the evening was the Spread Eagle and moderately busy compared with how we’ve known the place in the past. An interesting performance as after the Enterer and King George’s entrance there was a drifting back to conversation. It took the Doctor and Beelzebub to bring attention back again. All told another good night.

The Third Night - Thursday 4th Nov

 First call was to the Black Swan at Hollinfare which was again a quiet start to the evening although this earlier evening slot is getting better as the week goes on.with a larger number of people there than with previous first pubs. A good reception and very nice to see Colin Buckland there, one of our early players.

A move to the Windmill at Carrington and doing our entrance just prior to the start of the quiz saw us performing to a full house - and a very miserable quiz master who totally failed to see the advantages of the' pre-quiz entertainment'!! Anyway star of the show was Beelzebub who has now had the same guys drink 3 years on the run. All has mates saw it coming but.... once is unfortunate, twice is careless, three times is......??

From here it was onto the Roebuck in Urmston and the usual good audience. The Enterer encountered some old friends in the audience whom he'd not seen for years and was put of his stride slightly. Beelzebub duly did the honours with one of their drinks to even the score.

From there to the last one for the evening, The Church in Flixton and it's usual cosier atmosphere. Once again we were made very welcome and a fitting end to another good evening.

The Fourth Night - Friday 5th Nov

The Friday around Altrincham and Hale was one of a mix of performances and receptions. we started at the Railway in Broadheath where the performance was totally spoiled by one head case whose had come out and had obviously flushed his braincells down the bog before coming to the pub! His constant loud shouting put the dampers on the performance and spoiled it for everyone else. In all the years of performing there that has got to be the worst result.

Next however we went to the Malt Shovels where we've not played for a number of years and has a successful performance although attention was not 100% the response was good.

Contrasting that with the Old Market Tavern where as soon as the introduction song began you could here a pin drop. It stayed like that all the way through. Not as full as in the past but nevertheless a good enough number to make it very worth while. Next door in the Orange Tree and we were back to the other end again. We had to ask to get the music turned down which was duly done however, half way through the youngster behind the bar in charge of the knob thought it would be fun to progressively turn it up as the performance continued. That was until Beelzebub came in with gusto and one harsh glare at the little cretin saw it turned of again. This I think really sealed it for the Altrincham tour as apart from the Old Market Tavern there are better places to perform. Watch this slot for next year.

Last was the Railway in Hale and being bonfire night the place was heaving with people having been to an organised event down the road. The performance was as usual well received however we had to fight for it every inch of the way with the performance being done at full volume. Again, as usual, we thank Bridget for the round at the end of the evening.

The Last Night - Saturday 6th Nov

Well the last night, or should that be day in view of the afternoon start, is upon us again. We get to this stage and think that the week, once again, has passed very quickly.

Following the gathering of the Gang in the Saracen's Head at lunchtime, we started at the Warburton Church Autumn Fair as has been the case in recent years and played to a substantially larger audience there this time. This was perhaps helped by the earlier start but also as the Fair was very well attended this year.

From here a short bus ride into Lymm and a performance at the cross there. Not too successful as Lymm was deserted. Apparently the village was heaving in the morning. Perhaps a little more intelligence is needed on the shopping habits of the locals if we are to try it again in the afternoon. Following a 'rest' in The Bull we then caught the bus back, with the same bemused bus driver, to the Saracen's Head for another 'rest' and a bite to eat. Then it was out onto the streets again for a walk down Bent Lane towards Heatley and the Farmers Arms.

As was to be expected it was quiet at that time in the evening but still proved a very enjoyable for those there. Back to the bus stop again, and yes the same bus driver who's face was a picture of disbelief as he stopped to pick us up for the third time! Following the ride into Dunham we did another performance at the Axe & Cleaver. Our second stop there for this season and we played to a similar number to the first time on Monday. Once again our thanks go the Landlord for another round of drinks. It just goes to show, buy as a beer and we'll come back again!

So to the bus again and fortunately a different driver to take us back to Heatley. Straight off the bus and into the Green Dragon and our 5th performance of the day. A good reception although everyone was a little spread out. Following a short stop there a walk down the road took us to The Railway where as usual we ended up with very good reception.

So one last performance needed for this year so off we go walking our way down the road back to the Saracen's Head singing our heads off. The weather has been drizzling all day and had decided to get a bit thicker for the walk back, however, nothing was going to dampen our spirits now!

The Saracen's Head was full when we got there and continued to fill as we prepared ourselves. We even picked up a number of people from previous pubs who followed us to see it again, including the gentleman who was Beelzebub's victim in the Railway. The pub was noisy with general chatter, however, as soon as the song started it was as if someone had turned the switch off. It stayed that way for the whole performance and you could have heard a pin drop. The last song and that's it for another year. The Play is returned safely home to stay there until the 1st November 2005. All that was left was for us to eat the hot-pot kindly provided by the Saracen's Head staff and play a few tunes and sing a few songs.

Yet another splendid year and one hard to put into words to describe the aura of the week.

This page updated: 7th November 2004.