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Saturday 21st February

February 23, 2015

Saturday 21st January 2015

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We ended the week here at Brick Lane with friends in to see the Panto. Rusty had his family in to see the show- Sarah, Jack and Ben, along with friends Gemma and Tim.

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Jack, Nigel, Sarah,Owen, Gemma, Isobel & Andrew

It was a bit of an “Italia Conti” reunion tonight as I had brought along Owen Smith who teaches at “Conti” alongside Sarah, Gemma and Tim! Owen had taught Rusty’s son Ben at that venerable college, and Ben will be rejoining the BLMH gang after the panto to do “The Irish Show”. His last show here before Christmas being “Be Bop A LooLa!”

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Isobel Hurll & Owen Smith

Owen was joined by Andrew Ryan and Isobel Hurll. Andrew needs little introduction on the blog pages- he recently finished a run of “Snow White” with Lesley Joseph at The Theatre Royal Nottingham. Isobel is a verteran of very many pantomimes- over twenty of them at The Kenneth More Theatre. She has had an amazing career that has taken her all over the world, on the set of “Cleopatra” in Rome, on the set of a film with Joan Collins and Tony Newley” in Malta, and as principal dancer she has had long seasons at the Palladium and The Talk Of The Town in the West End.

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In addition, Isobel, Myself and Vincent Hayes have appeared together in a few tours, including “Hansel & Gretel”, “Toad Of Toad Hall” and “A Christmas Carol”, so there was a fair bit to catch up on after the show over a glass of wine!

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We’ve had packed houses this week once again, and now the telephones are hot with bookings for the shows that follow this festive one

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Ben (Goffe) will be rehearsing week after this for the Irish Show called “St. Patrick’s Irish Party” which opens on Friday 13th March and runs through until March 26th. “St George’s Day Show” opens on April 23rd appropriately, and goes through to the 9th May, when it is followed in by “The Fifties Show” which runs 30th May to June 13th with “Summer Showcase” running through the rest of June and July!

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Vincent with Jess Conrad last week

Our Star visitors at Brick Lane this week were David Carter and Peter John.

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David Carter in the chaos of Number One!

David Carter, Musical Director has returned from Pantomime in Norwich (along with Andy Pook our Percussionist) and is constantly working here, there and everywhere. I have had many lovely fun times touring with David in shows, Childrens shows like “Pinocchio”, “Wizard Of Oz” and the like, with David as MD, and many Variety shows with David and Perry Clayton on drums. David has worked alongside the major Variety Stars, and accompanied the late great Danny La Rue frequently. A joy to see David again, and catch up on old times!

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Peter John in Number One

Peter John is well known for Music Hall- in fact he received a lifetime achievement award from the British Music Hall Society, and is currently appearing in shows around the UK. He is no stranger to the three Music Halls that bear the “Brick Lane” name, as well as the Players Theatre London and Famous City Varieties in Leeds.

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He was a member of the Players Theatre and the City Varieties “Good Old Days” has seen him numerous times over the years. He specialises in “Character Studies”, and putting over Music Hall numbers with patter and with huge passion. –  he often writes his own words and music for the wide range of comic characters he creates.

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Peter John at Curtain Row Brick Lane

Born in Liverpool, Peter grew up in Cheshire and Manchester.  He trained as an actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). His career  as an actor, writer, director and performer has covered everything from twice nightly weekly repertory to Shakespeare productions in Regent’s Park and with the National Theatre Company, of which he was one of the original cast members in Olivier’s Othello.

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Peter has just finished playing Dame at Lewisham alongside Richard Blackwood. “Snow White” was presented by Paul Holman. Richard has just entered Albert Square and started “Eastenders” in a week when over eight million viewers watched the soap!

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Peter John himself has presented and appeared as Dame in a great many pantomimes over the years – between 1977 and 1981 he wrote and appeared in the famous Watford Palace Theatre pantos. I loved those shows, and made a point of seeing one each and every year. They were wonderful shows, and I still have many memories of the productions, and of Peter being the seasonal favourite Dame there!

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I recall they did a “Babes In The Wood” there, I think it was 1n 1979. My friend Eric Danot was in it (I recall he was a Pantomime Horse and Ensemble!) along with fabulous Parincipal boy and a mate of mine- Caro Gurney as Principal Boy. Sadly Caro is no longer with us. She loved both Music Hall and Panto, and I did one with her around 1976  I think. That “Babes” featured Peter John as Nurse Nelly, and had Caro as Robin Hood, Richard Kay was the Sheriff and Ian Steele played Jack. Ted Craig I remember was Director.

Next week is very busy for us all- every day we have a matinee tea or a lunch performance. Here are a few more pictures from this “Babes” panto  to see us through the hectic week!

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