Much hilarity usually resulted from the entrance of Guillemar who was mounted on a duck! The whole structure was very Reeves and Mortimer (before their time!) and the weight of the false legs at the front were delicately balanced by a kettle full of stones hanging from a hook at the back. In the premier performance, with its own sense of perfect timing at a space in the dialogue, the hook decided to give way and the kettle fell to the stone floor with a beautiful loud plop, pitching the surprised Guillemar forward. No-one could have timed it better and it was some minutes before the play continued, with everyone including the cast, collapsed with laughter!!
Oswald: Chas Marshall, Merlin: Stuart Rankin (with the bat-mobile!), King Arthur: John Burrell, Galahad:Dominic Ward and the Presenter: Graham Bickerdike
This shows Grimbald: Arthur Jackson, displaying Sprites and Fairies Union solidarity with Philadel: Dave Dearlove, with Galahad: Dominic Ward, King Arthur: John Burrell and the Presenter: Graham Bickerdike looking on.
The final shot shows Guillemar mounted on the duck: Jim Mayer (with counter balancing kettle just visible!), being taken on by Galahad: Dominic Ward and King Arthur: John Burrell, with Grimbald: Arthur Jackson and Philadel: Dave Dearlove floundering in Grimbalds Fen.
The pictures were taken on Monday 21st August 1978 at the Bandstand, Whitby Folk Festival.
Because of the nature of the props, this play was usually reserved for concerts and festival appearances and would probably be banned today in indoor venues because the pyrotechnics involved would set off fire alarms! However, in 2008 the play was resurrected, albeit using minor explosions but hopefully it has the same effect!
The picture below was taken at the FEVA Festival in Knaresborough on Monday 11th August, 2008 as part of one of the Blind Jack Folk Concerts.
From left to right: Merlin (Martin Ord), Galahad (Julian Sharpe), King Arthur (Mark Ellison), Philadel (Jeff Garner), the tatters of Grimbald just visible (Ted Dodsworth), Oswald (Chas Marshall) and Guillemar (John Burrell). The Town Cryer (Dave Williams) is lurking somewhere in the shadows!