Skip to content

Betty’s Birthday Blog!

February 28, 2014

Friday 28th February 2014

The show yesterday (Thursday) was a little different- What usually happens is that the guests enjoy their lunch from about 1.30pm to 2.30pm and we start the show as soon as the coffee is served.

One large coach party were stranded the other side of the Dartford tunnel in Kent, and held up for nearly an hour. Half the house was seated and half missing! As soon as they arrived the amazing kitchen and Front Of House staff at Brick   Lane sprang into action- the food was served piping hot, and we went on with the main course to present “Big Dick Whittington!”

That clatter of cutlery and plates took me back to the matinee teas served at The Floral Hall New Brighton (The old building!) and The Devonshire Park Eastbourne. A comforting sound. My first entrance didn’t elicit the usual clapping as the audience were holding knives and forks- well, that’s MY excuse anyway!

We managed to catch up a little on time – bearing in mind the coaches are waiting to take the audience home from 4.30pm, and we came down almost exactly at 5pm.


Betty and The Girls!

Today- Friday was a Lunch time show again, but we started on time. It happens to be my birthday- which delightfully I am working and employed- I always think that’s a good time- working on a birthday is much more fun!

I had a  fun day at Brick   Lane and had a lovely surprise at the curtain call when Vincent appeared with a Birthday Cake, complete with candle. Always reminds me of the Ugly Sister gag Peter & I would do. Me:“There were twenty candles on my cake this year.” Peter:   Yes-there were on MY slice anyway…!”


I had a beautiful bouquet of roses, everyone signed my card and the audience sang “Happy Birthday!”to me-. What better birthday can you have?!


Leaving Brick Lane tonight feeling buoyed – Birthday Buoyed I found myself on the Jubilee Line in Rush Hour. A Young man looked up . “Would you like this seat Sir?” That took the wind out of the sails. I can only imagine he thought I was pregnant. I can’t think of any other reason. Memo to self take more care with appearance before rushing from theatre.

I told Martin Ramsdin (Ugly Sister and half of David Robbins & Martin Ramsdin) this story tonight. He replied “The time to worry is when Cub Scouts offer to help you across the road!” I agreed!

Rusty is keeping track on his boys at the moment. Ben is appearing at the Nottingham Playhouse in “The Beggasrs Opera” and his Bro is doing incredibly well on a Uni inspired Hitchiking for charity sponsored trip- where you see how far you can travel, and get to raise money in the process. By last night they’d reached Nottingham (by co-incidence) and by this afternoonj Edinburgh! Not bad eh?

Paul and Gary were doing a show last night in Sheerness, so they will have done three shows in two days by tonight! They were joined by our Director & Author Paul Harris at the venue.

We had a visitor today, Michael, of the “Twain Twins” fame. We worked together in the past, and I’ve costumed a couple of shows he’s directed. Good to see him after such a long time. He’s a mate of Vincents and they have worked together many times in the past.


Visiting the pantomime today was a group from The Max Miller Appreciation Society based in Brighton. Our dressing room here has a good few posters on display of “The Cheeky Chappie”- in his own words “There’ll never be another!”

A full house today and some other birthdays. These included Audrey   Lane, of the Grand Order Of Lady Ratlings. Audrey and her husband Arthur presented some major pantomimes and employed some big star names from the worlds of Pantomime and Pop in their time- and ran the Wimbledon Theatre for a period as well as presenting the odd show in the West End and on tour. As Arthur Lane and Audrey Lupton they presented shows across the UK, specialising in Pantomime.

Here’s a few facts about the Theatrical world of Lupton and Lane, and some of the artistes they employed over the years- from Music Hall and from Pantomime and the odd popstar!



They were leading producers and managers from the 1960s to the end of the 1980s – Arthur Lane died in 1987 at the age of 76.  They were best known for their work at Wimbledon Theatre, taking over in 1962 and  within a few years succeeding in reviving the threatened theatre as one of the major theatres in Britain.  They ceased their tenancy when the Council decided to take over management and create a Civic Theatre in 1968.

Through the 60s at Wimbledon and elsewhere they were leading pantomime producers.  Among their pantos at Wimbledon were:

1964:  “Sleeping Beauty” with Norman Vaughan, Freddie Frinton, Jerry Desmond,     Paula Hendrix

1965:  “Little Red Riding Hood” with Cilla Black, Jon Pertwee, Desmond & Marks,             Sian Hopkins, Jack Haigh

cillawimb1965a  cillawimb1965

There’s a huge article all about Popstars in Pantos here on the site. Visit:

And a whole “spotlight on Cilla Black” in Panto on:

1966:  “Babes in the Wood” with Arthur Askey,  Lulu, Roy Castle, Elaine Paige,        Roger Rees

1967:  “Aladdin” with Bruce Forsyth and Tommy Trinder!

Other pantomimes included

1971    “Snow White” with Anthony Bygraves, Billy Burden, Ken Wood & Beau  Daniels  (Alhambra Theatre, Capetown, South Africa)

1968    “Babes in the Wood” with Jimmy Young and Jimmy Logan, Gordon &   Bunny   Jay, Susan Maughan, Ralph Reader (Golders Green Odeon)

“Cinderella” with Joe Brown, Dick Emery, John Inman, Barry Howard  (Streatham Odeon)


“Aladdin” with Yana, Bernard Bresslaw, Clive Dunn, Dave Swan, Earl &        Vaughan, George Bolton (Brighton Royal)

1967    “Cinderella” with Norman Vaughan, Paula Hendrix, Craig Douglas, Ricky      Renee & George Moon (Brighton Royal)

“Babes in the Wood” with Charlie Chester, Susan Maughan, Desmond and    Marks (King’s Southsea)

1966    “Cinderella” with Tommy Trinder, Reg Dixon and Terri Gardener (Uglies) ,    and Craig Douglas  (King’s, Southsea)

1965    “Puss in Boots” with  Hughie Green, Monica Rose, Barrie Gosney, Len Lowe- at The Lyric Hammersmith.

1964   “Puss in Boots” with Dickie Valentine,  Albert Burdon and Sally Barnes as                    Dame (Brighton)

“Cinderella” with  Barri Chatt & Terri Gardener, John Inman & Barry             Howard (Weymouth Pavilion)

Sandy Powell

Under their management they presented annual Music Hall productions at the Royal Hippodrome, Eastbourne, and their famous 1970s “Golden Years of Music Hall” which toured the UK and even to South Africa and New Zealand with stars like Leslie Sarony, Bob and Alf Pearson, Elsie & Doris Waters, Cavan O’Connor, Sandy Powell, Don Smoothey and Marjorie Manners.

They presented numerous variety bills at Wimbledon and elsewhere, presenting people like Adam Faith,  Don Smoothey, Ann Shelton, Donald Peers, Jewell & Warriss, Jessie Matthews, Barri Chatt & Terri Gardener, Matt Monro, and Bob Monkhouse.  They also presented UK tours of plays such as Irene Handl in “Busybody” and musicals like “Salad Days” and “No No Nanette”, with Craig Douglas and Sandra Michaels.

The 1964   SALAD DAYS (2nd Revival) presented by Audrey and Arthur had its London run: at the Lyric Hammersmith, August 18th (39 Performances)

The Revival Cast were  Trevor Griffiths (Tramp), Belinda Carrol (Jane), Philip Blaine (Timothy),  Patrick Duggan (Troppo), Pat Michael, Richard Fraser, Barry Howard, Olivia Breeze, John Inman- an early appearance by John Inman and Barrie Howard- teamed up in Pantomime as Ugly Sisters, and both destined for Television stardom.

My friend Patricia Michael was to star in The Shaftesbury (Princes) Theatre “How To Succeed in Business” in London’s West End as well as several Musicals, was Stanley Baxter’s Principal Boy for several seasons, became involved with her Husband Josh in New York’s Radio City Music Hall, and is now resident in Connecticut where she has been directing a pantomime (written by me!) each year, including this current season!

lots more facts on Musicals to be found in my Brother Vivyan’s website

A great Birthday at Brick Lane and tomorrow is a rare one- it will be a Saturday Matinee Tea, not an evening performance. Then… can hardly believe time has flown so fast- we will be into our very last week!

From → Uncategorized

One Comment
  1. Laura permalink

    Just so that you know Nigel, I’m thoroughly enjoying reading all the blogs and seeing the pictures. Keep writing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: