Members of the jury, I ask you to consider carefully the Whingers’ claim that they witnessed a terrible crime at the Savoy Theatre last night.
For there are a number of “unlikelihoods” in their stories: they claim, for example, that they were proceeding down The Strand towards this playhouse in an orderly fashion. I submit to you that this in itself is a highly unlikely – nay, preposterous – scenario.
You may also find far-fetched their claim to have witnessed not one, but two crimes. – a double-bill of crimes, if you will – which they refer to (somewhat lamely, I’m sure you agree) as “Legal Fictions“.
And yet the front cover of the programme states quite clearly that it is “A comedy by John Mortimer”. Note that there is no hint of any plurality on the cover of this document (Exhibit A) and yet the Whingers insist that they were brought to said playhouse under false pretences.
The Whingers have also made attempts to convince you that the epithet “comedy” is misleading and that they sat stony-faced throughout, barely able to raise so much as a smile.
And yet – as you have heard – there were hundreds of other even more elderly witnesses (most of whom – you should note – were a great deal much better turned out that the Whingers, many of the ladies in the audience having reassuringly expensive coiffures). These good, honest, decent, senior citizens were seen and heard to laugh often and loudly throughout the mirthful two hours and 45 minutes.
On the subject of the venerable performer Mr Edward Fox, the Whingers claim they found his performance irritatingly mannered, full of self-indulgent, posturing pomposity and – oftentimes – inaudible.
Yet apart from the sole witness sitting behind the Whingers who (they claim) repeatedly asked her companion “What did he say?” it is evident that most of the witnesses must have been able to hear perfectly clearly as they obediently and happily responded to Mr Fox’s performance with abundant – one might even say “profligate” – laughter.
Members of the jury, you may perhaps find plausible their claim that Mr Fox became so enamoured of his role as Edward VII on the commercial television station in the 1970s that he has not bothered to add any new voices to his repertoire since then but this is clearly a scurrilous allegation which you should not entertain for a moment.
And the on the subject of people not being entertained for a moment, I submit that these self-styled, self-confessed “West End Whingers” simply found themselves in the wrong place in the wrong times, and that cosy little plays with copious references to the middle-classes such as sherry, autumn crocuses, roast dinners, herbaceous borders, brass rubbing and conservatories were simply not to their taste and that their eye-witness account is therefore laced with nothing more substantial than casual, idle prejudice.
Do note be distracted by their objection that no food was consumed on the stage, nor indeed by their mutterings of dissent regarding the producers’ claim that the plays “show that the law can make an ass of any of us“; their assertion that the plays make asses only of barristers and judges is inadmissible and must be struck from the court records.
In summing up, members of the jury, I would like to draw your attention to this irrefutable fact which is uncontested even by the Whingers: the majority of the witnesses found each occasion on which Mr Fox used the word “rogering” (especially when used in the context “rogering my wife”) not only funny, but increasingly funny on each repetition. You can, I’m sure, imagine the cacophony of joyous laughter which accompanied the 23d occasion. Yet the Whingers claim it was “unamusing”.
I put it to you that their minds were not on the job at hand: more-over, that they were theatregoing without due care and attention, having been fatally distracted by the presence of the West End’s second Dyson Airblade installation.
The defence rests.