By Ray Fleming
The Bad News
There was bad and good show-business news in the past week. The bad and sad was Wendy Peters’ report that the final curtain will fall on the Bay Entertainers on 16 February at the last night of Aladdin, their 2014 pantomime, after twenty-five years of productions that have always reached a high standard for an amateur drama group.
Graham Wesson and Martin McEwen established its standards and those who took over after their deaths have maintained them -- and kept the audiences coming with “sold-out” attendances at the last five shows. So why is the Bay Entertainers company closing?
Bob Bentron, the secretary of the group, told Wendy Peters that many amateur companies in the UK are facing the same problem as on Majorca -- a shortage of people who want to play the vital backstage roles of electricians, scenery designers and painters, costumiers and music arrangers, without whom the show cannot go on.
“It’s very sad for us but it’s simply due to the changing times,” said Mr Benton, “With great success in twenty-five years we’ve donated hundreds of thousand euros to local charities.”
(Aladdin is on Friday 14 February evening with a matinee and evening show on Saturday and the final Sunday performance at 4pm. (Calvia Theatre Box office: 971 683 627.)
The Good News
Dancing in the Streets will be back in Palma this Spring! That’s the good news and very good it is.
It may not quite be the return of the wonderful International Folk Dance Festival which was lost a few years ago on economy grounds but “Palma amb la Dance”, as it is to be called, will be very welcome indeed.
From 24 April to 5 May there will be dancing of all sorts in Palma’s plazas, patios and theatres, much of it free. The budget for this inaugural year is 50,000 euros, which isn’t much when all the costs of staging this kind of event are taken into account, but it’s a start which should be built on in future years. Will the Balearic Symphony Orchestra participate?
It should be invited to do so because there is a huge repertory of orchestral dance music of all ages. And the musicians showed last year what big crowds they can draw when they held several open-air concerts during their dispute with the government over funding. Bring them on!
Majorca is not normally thought of as a major centre of high-level legal activity but in this last week three events of that kind took place in Palma which attracted widespread interest, in the case of one of them media coverage across Spain and Europe and beyond.
This was, of course, the decision of the Palma Judge, Jose Castro, that Princess Cristina, the youngest daughter of King Juan Carlos, should be summoned to appear in a Palma court in March in connection with the charges of fraud, tax evasion and embezzlement of public funds against her husband Inaki Urdangarin who, like his wife, has denied any wrongdoing.
The media interest is intense and hotel accommodation in or near Palma for 8 March is probably already overbooked.
The other two cases concerned judgements already made and sentences announced. Jaume Matas, former Balearic President and national minister, was successful in getting the Balearic High Court to suspend his nine months imprisonment for corruption in the still incomplete Palma Arena case.
He has also pleaded for a fine instead of imprisonment and for an official pardon.
All these issues remain open. Maria Antonia Munar, the former leader of the Majorca Unionist Party and Speaker of the Balearic parliament, who is already serving an eleven year prison sentence for corruption, has been told that she will have to answer further questions about the Son Oms land development case which has already been under investigation for five years.
In a pertinent Viewpoint entitled Justice on the Cheap, the Bulletin’s editor Jason Moore drew attention to the slowness of legal proceedings in Spain, often as a result of inadequate funding and staffing. The case involving Princess Cristina’s husband has already taken at least two years to reach the stage of preliminary court hearings.
Having been named by a leading international property company as one of the best places in the world to live, and coming in the top ten holiday rental destinations for 2014, Majorca received a further accolade from Sky News’ presenter Kay Burley who found it “magnificently beautiful” during a walking holiday which “completely blew me away” and was the “biggest surprise” of a year devoted to travelling.
Michael Montier, who each week shares his considerable knowledge of Majorca birdlife with Bulletin readers, admitted that he had been the victim of the Majorcan equivalent of an April Fool when, on 28 December, he was told that a very rare pair of Golden Eagles had been spotted near the s’Albufera reserve and he had naturally rushed off to spot them, only to realise later that he had been caught out for the third year running in a hoax.
Never mind, his tally for the year was “a paltry” 187 different species; most of us do well to recognise two or three in our gardens.
With Christmas, New Year and the Three Kings past for another year, Andrew Valente was quick to reassure his readers that “The feasting is far from over”. In the coming week it’s time for the torrada to be enjoyed as fires are lit in plazas and streets and the locals arrive with their own meat and sausages to grill on the hot embers.
Torrada is what Americans and British call barbecue but Andrew Valente took two columns to describe the variety and range of food that is used, much of the meat having been marinated in olive oil, lemon juice and herbs.
Sa Pobla puts on a spectacular show (night of 16 January) with bonfires all over and a Dantesque atmosphere, he said.
The page 2 Bulletin Headlines feature recalled 1966 when “The 17-day Christmas pass agreement between East and West Berlin ended with 1.3 million West Berliners visiting relatives in the Eastern sector of the city.
The West German government emphasized that the agreement did not imply recognition of two German states”.