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Saturday 23rd Jan: Carry On Eastenders!

January 25, 2016

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Rhys, Vincent & Rusty

Two Evening shows this week. The first on Friday, with a three course dinner and show. That means we arrive backstage at around 8pm with the show proper starting at 9pm. Always very full and always very lively!

We’re still honing the show with tweaks here and there, as it settles in to what it will become- a riotous audience participation with food! The show flies past, it is very pacy, and suddenly it was 11.15pm and while the guests carried on dancing, Rusty very kindly gave me a lift home – I was back indoors within twelve minutes! Amazing what the roads can be like when there’s no traffic at all!

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Chris as Muddles

Saturday’s show was similar, with a very jolly audience and some parties in, as well as a few friends of Brick Lane Music Hall from the world of film and television. One of these visitors, a regular to BLMH has risen from the dead to come here! Derek Martin was in to see the show. Only two weeks ago the Nation watched him shuffle off the mortal coil in Walford when his long serving Eastenders character, Charlie Slater died! Fifteen years of “Eastenders” and a long lasting career in films and telly. Looking pretty robust he joined us after the show backstage!

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Derek as Charlie Slater

From the world of television, Theatre and film we also had a visit from Kate Plantin, Casting Director – her influence can be found in all these branches of the Entertainment Industry, and she called backstage to say Hello.

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Kate Plantin

Ida Barr was a big Music Hall Star from the Edwardian Era through into the 1940’s. Literally a big star at nearly Six Feet Tall, and of statuesque proportions, one comic at the time quipped “Ida Bar? She could ‘id a bloomin’ pub!” Her Great niece came to see the show tonight, Anita Harris!

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Anita was with her husband Mike Margolis, and has only recently finished playing the wicked Baroness in “Cinderella” at The King’s Theatre Southsea.  Her Great Aunt was top of the Bill in both this country and in America, introducing such hit songs of the time as “Oh! You Beautiful Doll!” and the Ragtime hit “Everybody’s Doing It!”.

Ida Barr (1882-1967)

Ida was the daughter of a soldier, born in Regent’s Park Barracks.At the age of fifteen she ran away from home and appeared at Belfast’s Theatre Royal in 1898.She married a comic named Gus Harris (Anita’s Great Uncle) Billed as “The Only Yiddisher Scotsman In The Irish Fusiliers”, and in 1910 Ida left him and sailed to America where she learned the Ragtime craze that swept the States, and brought the songs back to the UK with her.

She topped Music Hall bills above GH Elliott, Billy Danvers and Albert Whelan on her return.

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It was lovely to see Anita and Mike at  BLMH tonight. Star of two Carry On Films, “Follow That Camel” and “Carry On Doctor”, she had huge hit records with “Just Loving You” and “Anniversary Waltz”, starred in Television specials,Royal Command Performances and  in cabaret at Las Vegas and London’s “Talk Of The Town” and spent two years as Grizabella in “Cats” at The New London Theatre.

Tonight was a family night for two of our cast- both Tommy and Catherine had family in to see the show. They headed into the auditorium to join them after the final curtain.

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So, we had a busy couple of days with the evening shows. Next week we have two Lunchtime shows, One Tea Time Show and an Evening Show. We have next Friday off, so I’ll be making the journey from Euston to Birmingham on Thursday after the matinee to join my Qdos mates for fun and frolics at the Hippodrome “Aladdin” to celebrate their final week. I’ll return on the Saturday morning and leave the magic lamp behind for a giant stalk!

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Tommy, Derek and Anita.

I received some excellent photographs from Paul Sampson . Paul is the photographer and creator of document conwy. He chronicles theatre in that part of North Wales- and each year takes stunning pics backstage at Llandudno. Here are just a few taken when I was waiting to join Robin Windsor and John Evans for some Strictly ballroom!

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me (Nigel) concentrating on counting the bars!

When we do our matinee performance on Tuesday (26th) at 1pm my thoughts will be in South London where my mate and fellow Panto dame, Brian Godfrey will be laid to rest with his friends and family attending. I so wish I could be there to read alongside Lynda (Hayden) and Robin (Asquith) but I know that of all people Brian would understand. This is a business of show and we have to continue with it wherever possible.

Please take a look at Brian’s career in “Spotlight on Brian Godfrey” on our main page.

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Brian with The Krankies

Brian fought a brave and long battle with illness and worked for nearly all of it, making thousands and thousands of people laugh. Tuesday’s show is for you Brian. God Bless.

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Brian with Vicki Michelle

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Brian with me at a press launch.

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Brian (left) with Darren Southworth

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