We ended up having a night out. The Professor is multifariously involved with music at Aberdeen: while keeping an appointment in the Music Dept he bumped into a youthful tenor who has sung several of his songs, and who said, ‘We’re doing Iolanthe! You will come, won’t you?’ Well, you can’t say no. Actually, they made a real job of it. There are two things you can do with a female chorus who come on singing ‘we are dainty little fairies, tripping hither, tripping thither’ (actually, three, but crawling out between the rows was not an option). One is to find some dainty little misses who can dance. The other is to play it for laughs: since, as with many a Choral Society, the gals were on the hefty side, they galumphed with a will. The Queen of the Fairies rather stole the show; the best actress of the lot, she was a statuesque size 14, very becomingly dressed (unlike her entourage who had, I suspect, suffered from Budget Melt Down in the costume dept), and she had a naughty, very feminine smile: she looked, and sounded, not unlike Penelope Keith in her younger days. The Peers and so forth were really rather good, and they could all sing — even unto the Lord Chancellor’s patter song, which is by no means easy. It was so patently obvious that everyone involved was enjoying themselves that it was very good fun, and we left feeling distinctly proud of our students: it’s not every student music society which can put getting on for 40 people on the stage, and muster a full orchestra, every single one of whom is a competent performer. The only downside is that Iolanthe is full of insanely memorable tunes, which go cantering through one’s head at inopportune moments.