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Saturday 6th Jan:Varieties to the City!

February 9, 2016


(L to R) Peter Sandeman, Nigel, Gail Sandeman, Vincent, Andrew

Front row Rusty with Sallie & David McNeil

Visitors to Brick Lane, near City Airport included City Varieties stalwart Peter Sandeman and his wife Gail, and David & Sallie McNeil. David presented pantomimes and ran the Sands Centre Carlisle, while Peter ran the City Varieties Music Hall (which presented an annual Pantomime) in Leeds.

Lovely to see them visiting the Brick Lane Music Hall to see “Jack & His Giant Stalk!” Tonight. Peter was at Swansea (my home town ) for many years- took over from my Brother Viyan around 1973 when Vivyan left to found the Kenneth More Theatre. Peter then went on later to run the amazing City Varieties in Leeds.

Sitting typing this blog I notice on my desk I have a glass coaster inscribed The Sands Centre “Cinderella”  2005. Given to me by David McNeil as a piece of  panto memorabilia. Michael Harrison, now head of Qdos Pantomimes did his early “Dame” appearance there for David. I think we have a photo in the Dame’s gallery of Michael dressed as a Tutti Fruity!

Our visitors saw a cracking show, and fun was had by all on a very windy and rainy night, with the onset of Storm Imogen upon us. Rusty claimed he was nearly blown over while walking the dog. This reminded me of one of his career highlights- he mentions it in this very panto. Britain’s Bounciest Weatherman!


The picture is a bit fuzzy- but you can see the idea that caught the mood of the moment! “Live TV”  under the helm of Kelvin MacKenzie had the weather details brought to you by Rusty Goffe. Obviously at 4’2″ Rusty would not be able to impart wisdom about storm clouds in Birmingham easily, so a mini trampoline was featured. Our Rusty would reach new heights pointing out weather fronts in Aberdeen as you can see illustrated!


Here’s a cartoon from the Daily Mail of Rusty in mid flight! Over twenty years ago and still fondly remembered!


For more fascinating facts about our Brick Lane Star Guest, take a look at his website

The diversity will astound! This veteran of over three Brick Lane Pantomimes is a member of the GOWR (That’s The Grand Order Of Water Rats to you and me!) a performer who has appeared in two Royal Variety Shows- he plays over forty different musical instruments, and was once an intended beau for Mrs Slocombe in “Are You Being Served” on BBC TV!

Read his website and it gets better! Rusty has appeared in Five “Harry Potter” movies, travels the world making appearances and signings from his performances in “Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory” (seen above with Gene Wilder) and “Star Wars”- and has played a vampire (“Disciple of Death”), A Jawa, A series of Golblins, a Yellow Dwarf (“Mirrormask” 2005) . This man was one of Ming The Merciless’s Guards in “Flash Gordon! How good is that movie buffs?

From Dr.Who to “Allo Allo”, and “Mrs Henderson Presents” Rusty has done it all. Working with George Lucas, Ken Russell and Mel Brooks I may find myself giving a deep curtsey today when we do our scenes in Act Two. Well, it would have to be deep I suppose- when I’m in heels and Evil Fairy Crown I must be over six foot six!


The Land of Giants has many fairies. A Good Fairy, An Evil Fairy and a Rhys Fairy- and we are all living happilly ever after in Brick Lane- this week we have five shows, matinee teas and lunches and another Saturday Evening coming up.


We even have the odd Angel- as portrayed by Tommy! Here’s Good and Bad having a natter between entrances!


Last but not least, our other special visitor of the week was Jeff Stevenson, popping in to see our show before he heads off on another cruise- this time to gorgeous sunny hot tropical climes! He leaves us to Storm Imogen as he sails away to entertain on the cruise liners. Great to see him and to catch up on his news!


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