HMS GINAFORE

 
When Jenny Casino was even smaller she was always in the chorus line, waiting in the wings preparing to execute a restrained performance as a backing singer or dancer for those with the straight teeth and the slender limbs. At the age of three, at an infant ballet show, as all the other tu-tued starlets gracefully touched the shiny tips of their dancing pumps, little Jenny, blissfully unaware of her lack of coordination, was reaching up into the stagelights. She was a ragged orphan in the story of Annie, a whistling dwarf in Snow White's tale of woe, a shepherd in the nativity, the hundredth of the 101 dalmations, the last of Ali Baba's farty thieves... but, fuelled with a diet of new rock and old soul (which she consumed with gusto, damn!), she took centre stage and, (having grown out of her brushed-cotton pyjamas) in a glittering gown, rolled the dice, spun the roulette and took a gamble that if she dared to sing songs of pirates, whalers, drivers, burglars, doctors, tricksters, priests and lovers the people would dare to listen. In the late 1990s The Lady raffled herself off to the public as a country 'n' western punk who learned a few chords and begged the good people of Edinburgh to give her a chance, raise the stakes and place their bets. She blossomed under the watchful eye of her muse, Billy Flamingo, and mastered the art of high-speed gut-rot gin guzzling. She ditched her wellington boots in favour of open-toed gold stilettos and perfected the craft of allowing the spotlight to catch her diamonds in its beam. She entrusted her spirit to the souls of all the salty seadogs in their watery graves and always let the sound of billowing sails set the tempo of her shanties. She raised a glass to all the sailors with whom she used to drink rum (for she'll toast them no more now the cat's got her tongue). Now she has taken the wheel of H.M.S. Ginafore - God bless this ship and all who sail in her. Girl overboard! Guardyloo! Timber! Fore! Lady Casino has too