St. George and the Dragon

This production was put together by Stuart Rankin based on a traditional script, the source of which has yet to be confirmed, with some influence from Punch & Judy scripts.   Part of the cure was very much inspired by the Monty Python “parrot sketch” routine.   The first Dragon was a two person monstrosity put together and operated by Dennis Ward and his son Dominic, the head being made from papier mache and chicken wire, the rest being a “concertina” of hoops covered by green cloth.   This on its own was often a cause of much laughter, the problem being visibilty at the front end!    Once it survived a head-on collision with a lamp post and on another occasion, when the dragon entered a pub and couldn’t see where we were performing, “Pssst…We’re over here” caused the dragon to whirl round, catch it’s ear in the Christmas decorations, and bring them down!!  The rear operative, young Dominic, was often not very happy when the Dragon was slain as, more often than not, he was sat on by his Dad at the front causing a previously unseen, unheard voice to interrupt the play with a stream of oaths!  A version of the song “Old King Cole” in a minor key, was sung by St. George at the end of the play, though again the origin of this has yet to be confirmed.

Front (l – r) King Cole: Stuart Rankin, Mother Molly: John Hutt, Rear (l – r) Napoleon: Dave Dearlove, St. George: John Burrell, Doctor Ball: Graham Bickerdike, Dragon (front): Vince Doemling, Dragon (rear): Trevor Allen, Inspector from Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Mythical Animals: Henry Ayrton.   The picture was taken at Markenfield Hall, near Ripon on Wednesday, 29th June, 1983

After an absence from the repertoire for some years, the play was revived in 1993 and the following picture shows the team at Bradford Festival on Saturday 26th June 1993 with the much more controllable, but perhaps not as much fun, one-person dragon! 

Front (l – r) Inspector from Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Mythical Animals: Mike Johnson, Dragon: Vince Doemling, Doctor Ball: Peter Lees, Rear (l – r) Napoleon: Doug Child, St. George: John Burrell, Mother Molly: John Hutt, King Cole: Dave Williams.

An action picture taken later the same year at a Folk Concert at the Londesborough Club, Harrogate on Saturday, 11th December.  It shows Doctor Ball: Peter Lees, Dragon: Martin Ord, King Cole: Dave Williams, Mother Molly: John Hutt, St. George: John Burrell.

Mother Molly: Jeff Garner giving Kate Moss a run for her money, with fashionable skirt length (the tart!), Dragon: Julian Sharpe, Dr. Ball: Peter Lees at Otley Folk Festival on Saturday, 21st September, 1996.

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