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Thursday 9th Feb. Memory Lane!

February 9, 2017

003Martin & Me in The Green Room

Sitting in the Green Room yesterday in the interval chatting, I realised that Martin Layzell and his Dad Tony Layzell worked with me in panto years ago! We must have done about seven weeks together at Wimbledon Theatre, and only now we realised it!

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It is quite easy not to recall so well (I’m not blaming advanced age!). When you rehearse a panto you only have the pianist/MD. When we get to technical the musicians are already in the pit. At a theatre like Wimbledon everyone vanishes after the curtain falls and runs for the tube! At least we realised now we both did “Cinderella” in  1994/95- it’s taken twenty three years to find that out!

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That panto was a lovely one- June Whitfield and Mark Curry (Mark is in Wicked at the moment I believe) had dressing rooms next door to Peter and I, and her little dog “Rabbit” used to wander in and out throughout the day.

The Bill & A cartoon of Peter & I in the show.

It was the year Jennifer Saunders saw the show and asked Peter & I to contact her management about “Ab Fab”. In fact, that never happened- the idea wasn’t used, but we both did her “Mirrorball” pilot instead! A good year that! Working with the lovely Caroline Dennis once again, and with Mark who I toured in with “Billy Liar” and getting given a cricket bat by Ian Botham. Good times!

This week so far we’ve had Two Tea Time shows and a lunch. Its bitterly cold outside, but very cosy inside Brick Lane itself. Jolly audiences, including a packed house from Tesco that gave rise to a few “Every Little Helps” gags, and a couple of very raucous Schoolroom sketch days! Like the cross-eyed teacher, I cannot control my pupils!

Ellie has gone from here to The Globe Theatre on the South Bank, and performed in a show yesterday evening, and Hayley has sailed the Thames giving a concert- much in demand our Brick Lane lot. Tonight Tom was dressed up in his fabulous vintage “gear” to entertain on St Martin’s Lane in a venue close to the Coliseum, and I went home and cooked a casserole!

The shows continue apace, and have now settled in very nicely. The reception at the end is very warming- and it is a shock to leave this glowing warm scarlet draped atmosphere for the dark cold North Woolwich Road at 5pm!

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Another trip down Memory lane happened when I was searching out my Wimbledon Programme for Martin. In my archives was a folder marked February 1oth 2001. That is exactly Sixteen years ago tomorrow!

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Sixteen years ago Vincent asked Peter and I to take part in his Charity Gala show at the Previous “Brick Lane Music Hall” in Shoreditch. We’d performed at the one the previous year (Esther Rantzen, Claire Raynor and Shirley Ann Field attended) and this one had our mates Danny La Rue and Britt Ekland as guests of honour! It was a Grand Night!

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Here’s the press cutting I found. I remember a very good auction hosted by Nick Bonham himself during which Dan won a Black & Decker Drill. Annie explained what it was to him, and in the handbag it went!

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Photographs from the PREVIOUS year’s Gala Ball.

Such fun times at Shoreditch. Shortly after the 2001 Ball Vincent shut up shop and moved the venue here to Silvertown. On Sunday Brick Lane Music Hall celebrates TWENTY FIVE YEARS!

Here’s a lovely memory of that year when the Brick Lane Panto was “Aladdin and his Magical Lump!”.blmharchive3

The panto had the fabulous Phil Starr, and it also saw “The Pleasures Of Fanny”, a melodrama with Phil, Vincent and Annabel Lee throughout the Autumn.blmharchive2

Next year (2018) Brick Lane has announced “Aladdin” will be the Pantomime of Choice!

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