The winner of a pair of tickets to a West End musical, plus other notable entries.
Had to happen. No sooner had Obiter asked for unlikely legal topics for a stage show than news came through from Moscow that a musical production of Crime and Punishment is opening there next year. Fun for all the family, no doubt.
However Gazette readers in the main eschewed angst-ridden axe murderers for their protagonists, preferring a lighter note.
Nicola Proudlock tickled the judges with a show entitled Tantrum of the Obiter, in which an ill-tempered judge terrorises advocates in the High Court with his razor-tongued extraneous invective before falling hopelessly in love with obscure instructing solicitor Miss Bean.
‘I can’t see it getting many bums on seats,’ she confesses.
Wendy Hewstone may be on to a surer thing with The Cat and Mouse Game, about the authorities’ attempts to deal with the problem of hunger-striking suffragettes with the 1913 Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill-Health) Act, commonly known as the Cat and Mouse Act.
There can be very stirring music: the suffragettes sung songs to music from Men of Harlech and Onward Christian Soldiers and there’s even a triumphant ending with the Representation of the People Act 1918. Alas we can’t give it the prize because we reckon it’s too likely a hit: anyone have Andrew Lloyd Webber’s number?
Paul Singer, meanwhile, proposes putting women’s rights in a more recent setting. Made in Chancery Lane is set in 1968, and concerns 15 women who work as secretaries, paralegals, a tea-lady, and one articled clerk (selected for her looks) at London firm Pinstripe, Wig & Co.
'The articled clerk, Tamara, decides it’s time to get a better deal for her female colleagues, but soon discovers that there’s more to the dispute than she realises: women are paid a fraction of the men’s wages for the same work and none of the male partners want any female partners, any time soon!’
Again, surely it’s only a matter of time before someone puts it on.
Fiona Gilbert comes closer to the quest for an ‘unlikely legal topic’ with a musical based on the copyright and trademark action launched by Mattel (creators of the Barbie doll) against MCA Records over the lyrics in Nordic group Acqua’s Barbie Girl.
‘The set pieces, the costumes, the dance numbers and the songs would be so fun!,’ Fiona enthuses. Another bonus would be the IP litigation, which would keep a top-50 City firm in work for years.
Despite these sterling efforts, a few readers correctly spotted the perfect contender for an unlikely legal theme. This of course is Donoghue v Stevenson, also known as the Paisley snail case.
Martyn McCarthy came up with some fascinating plot twists, including a hermaphrodite mollusc’s suicide and the owner of the pop factory as a likeable rogue, preferably played by Hugh Grant.
However, on balance, the prize goes to Paul Bullen for The Donnowhoputhesnailin and Stevenson show, opening with the early life of the unlucky gastropod, a conspiracy by a law lord seeking fame, fortune and eternal quotation in law reports, the café scene involving ingestion of ginger beer plus pod (with songs from Cabaret), drama in the House of Lords and a finale with all parties (inc ghost of snail a la Hamlet’s father) singing their hearts out.
Two tickets for the Scottsboro Boys should be on their way shortly.
Thanks for all the entries – and watch this space for a new Obiter comp soon.