Holly, Misteltoe, the Man in the Red Suit, Rudolph, Cliff Richard, Nat King Cole, Slade or East 17: I think everyone has something or someone who makes them feel a bit Christmassy. If you close your eyes and think back, I am sure you can remember that really special Christmas, when Santa brought the toy you had yearned for: the thought of which meant you hardly slept on Christmas Eve. Did you stir the Christmas Pudding and make a wish? Did you leave a hot whiskey out for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph? Did you fight to stay awake at Midnight Mass? Did you jump with excitement to see the relatives trundling through the door?
I am a Christmas person and if you are sitting in the audience this evening, I am guessing you are too! Despite living in London for many years and being on the road with shows, I have only ever missed one Christmas in Ireland. I have fought blizzards, train and plane cancellations and twice rode in a black cab from London to Fishguard just to be back for the festivities! And – it never disappoints: My family, the tree (same one since 1980) the turkey, ham and my mother’s incredible stuffing (you may have heard of it.) Some years I have been home for one day and returned on the earliest flight possible, to get back for a boxing day matinee show, laden with turkey sandwiches and a heavy heart.
Christmas By Candlight is, indeed, a labour of love. I hope we have included your favourite song, whether it’s Nat, Doris, Judy, Wizzard or Shane McGowan I intend you put my heart and soul in to all of them this evening. So, let’s have a party! Sing along, tap your feet, close your eyes think: “from now one our troubles will be miles away…”
“We need a little Christmas, right this very minute!”