by Park Theatre

As ABBA has been telling us repeatedly since 1980, the winner, when all is said and done, takes it all.  We can surmise that it doesn’t matter what is taken, provided there’s nothing left for the person who hasn’t won.  This can be a hard slice of cake to swallow, which is why Benny and Björn's consoling lyrics and open vowels are as important today as they were back when Thai-dye short sleeved shirts were the done thing to wear on a record sleeve.

Which brings me to the Park Theatre Christmas email, our own little tinsel tassel of festive joy, which probably landed in your inbox earlier this evening (if not, you can see it here).

Now, let’s pretend you’re a witness in a very important case, and the first photograph in that email is a crucial piece of evidence.  As the witness, you would probably be handed a copy of this photograph by Rupert Penry-Jones - because that’s what he does best - and he would probably ask you to describe what you see. 

At this point [I trust I’m not boring you], you would quite rightly draw attention to the four preternaturally good looking women in the foreground.  Rupert would nod in a Bafta-winning sort of way, and ask you what you thought about the fellow in the top left of the image, and you would probably say that, on balance, discounting the bauble earrings, he seemed like a friendly, innocent sort of man (or elf), albeit not necessarily the sort of man you’d trust your children with.  ‘Would it be fair to say’, he’d conclude, ‘that these seem like winners?’  You’d reply: ‘yes, yes, I do believe I would.’  And you’d be right.

‘But wait!!’, he’d exclaim in a way that would lead the court stenographer to double-tap the exclamation mark key.  ‘What else is there of note in this image?’  And you would look carefully at the image, and then recoil in SHOCK AND HORROR to see what your sensitive brain had theretofore protected you from.  ‘Who or what’, you would ask indignantly, ‘is that thing in the top right corner???!!!’, thereby launching an assault of the stenographer’s fingers on the punctuation keys.

Rupert would take a long pause, by which I really mean a pause of just the right length.  Then he’d probably sigh.  ‘That’, he’d whisper sadly, ‘is what happens when you don’t win.’

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