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Here’s A Funny Thing!

July 1, 2012

Sunday June 24th

The Cheeky Chappie! Arts Theatre,London.

This probably won’t come as a surprise- but I’m a great fan of allthingsMusic   Halland Variety- and among the Comic Golds will always be the name Max Miller “The Cheeky Chappie”!

Miller was the flamboyant comedian who wore his trademark outfit- Plus fours and a jacket, in floral curtain fabric material, along with a white trilby hat and two tone shoes. Famous for having two versions of his act- one from the White Book, the other from the Blue book.. and famous for never putting his hand into his pocket to buy anyone a drink! His statue can be seen near the Theatre Royal inBrighton, where he was born, and where he lived in considerable wealth for all his life.

In his own words- “There’ll never be another, Lady…”

There may not be another, but in Andrew Lynford’s production at the Arts Theatre tonight, there very nearly was! Jamie Kenna as Max Miller was superb, and brought Miller to life body and soul in this play by Dave Simpson.

I remember Andrew first directing this homage to Miller several years ago at, I think the Union theatre in Southwark. I think I lent the production the Max Miller costume back then. I also recall the late great Jack Seaton coaching James in the mannerisms of Miller. Jack you see, a comic in the style of Max Miller had been a “Call Boy” at the London Palladium as a lad, and between tapping on the star dressing rooms to call out “Five minutes Mr Askey… Five Minutes Mr Kaye.. He watched his idol Max Miller every time he performed there, and later performed in the style of as a tribute to the great man.

Jack coached James in the nasal machine-gun delivery of the great Miller, and he would have been very proud of his pupil. Jamie Kenna did him proud!

This was a very panto themed night for me- even though Max himself never appeared in one (to my knowledge?). Andrew Lynford will be directing “Jack And The Beanstalk” at Wolverhampton Grand- where I’ll be giving my Dame Trott!  I was sitting beside Andrew Ryan, and Kathryn Rooney- both appearing in the Birmingham Hippodrome’s “Robinson Crusoe and the Carribean Pirates”, and alongside Michael Harrison the Chief Exec of Qdos, and of course Pantomime Producer and director!

A few rows away was old mate Bobby Crush-Britain’s “Piano Playing Dame”, and a row behind was producer Stuart Morrison. Appearing in “The Cheeky Chappie” was our mate James Horne, premier pantomime Dame (He and Andrew Ryan played “Sisters” together in Bath for Qdos) and I had the delight of meeting costumier Katie Butterworth, who has made many a Dame Frock!

James Horne might not be a piano playing Dame, but he is a Greek Tragedian playing thespian for the summer! He will be appearing throughout July and August in three Greek Tragedies in London in a Greek style auditorium open to the elements! Not many Dames can have that to their credit! A versatile Pantomime artiste that James Horne, and a very jolly chappie!

Great to see this show- and for posterity- here’s the full cast list!

Big Basket Productions Presents


By Dave Simpson




MAX MILLER         Jamie Kenna

KATHLEEN MILLER         Laura Martin-Simpson

ANN GRAHAM          Sarah Moyle

DINKIE/DEBBIE         Charlotte Milchard

RUTH/WARDROBE MISTRESS          Annie Walker

JULIUS/SID              James Horne

BILLY/YOUTH                Jamie Biddle


… All other roles played by members of the Company





Musical Director     HUW EVANS

Original Orchestrations     PHILIP SHUTE

Stage Manager      ERNEST HALL

Assistant Stage Manager     JAMIE BIDDLE



Sasha Regan, Union Theatre – Kathy Allman, Mountveiw Theatre School

The Marlborough Theatre, Brighton

Dave Simpson – The Max Miller Appreciation Society

The Leicester Square Theatre – The Brighton Festival

The Theatre Royal, Lincoln – Dianne at The Costumiers, Southend

Theatre Gear, Tunbridge Wells


From → Miscellaneous

One Comment
  1. barrerboy permalink

    I must get to London soon, I’m missing too much.

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