A Gala Night! Sat 25th Feb
It’s not often I get to go “Front Of House”, but tonight was a special night- Vincent’s Gala Night to celebrate Twenty-Five Years of Brick Lane Music Hall!
This was my first experience of a Two Show Day here. In Panto over Christmas every day is a two show day, but at BLMH we do Tuesday to Saturday with a Tea, or A Lunch or a Dinner. Today Salem the chef had his work cut out creating two sittings- the lunchtime and the evening. No mean feat for him and the hard working staff!
We started the day arriving at around 1pm and I left the building (after a swift G&T) at 12.45am having been dressed as a Man, A Lady, A posh man, A Lady and a posh man to finish front of house. Exhausted thinking about it!
Our Guests this afternoon for the matinee, The fabulous Ria Jones and her friend Angela Laurence. Ria has just returned from Paris, where she has been starring in “42nd Street” at The Theatre du Chatelet, and following her trememdous reception as Norma Desmond at the Coliseum’s “Sunset Boulevard” last year, when she took over from Glenn Close for severa performances, she is recreating that role at Leicester Curve then on tour around the UK.
Here we all are with Ria backstage. She has starred in “Les Miserable”, “Joseph”, “Chess”, “High Society”, “Anything Goes”, “Acorn Antiques” and evenings at The Royal Albert Hall, to mention just a few- I reminded her it is 35 years since we appeared in “Cinderella” together in what I think was her first professional Pantomime when she was a hugely talented young performer! Here’s that programme.
We all had a very jolly matinee, and then a lengthy break between shows while Front of House and the kitchens prepared for our Gala Evening. Vincent is donating proceeds to the Grand Order Of Water Rats Charity, and we have about twenty members of the GOWR attending tonight.
In between shows some of us went out, some of us read books, chatted or played games!
Like the song we sing in the show “Oh what an atmosphere!” . A great night. I went FOH at BLMH as we say, and met up with my mates Jason Belne, John Pittom,Laura Hayes, Pip & Neil Barnes, and a party that included panto dames extraordinaire Bobby Crush and Andrew Ryan.
So sorry that we didn’t have the opportunity to greet David Hartshorne (His excellent site on Dorothy Ward is kept on IBY) and David and Petey. I know how much they were looking forward, and their seats were put to good use. Thank you boys!
Gareth & Sarah won the giant Teddy! Congratulations!
Meanwhile the guests from the GOWR joined our merry throng in the auditorium- among them Music Hall (and Coronation street!) legend Roy Hudd with his wife Debbie Flitcroft. Both Roy and Debbie have recently presented “Mother Goose” at Wilton’s Music Hall- Roy’s Second Dame at Eighty- astonishing and humbling! We had Graham Cole (The Bill) Derek Martin (Eastenders) and veteran Pop Idol Jess Conrad joining Duncan (Chase Me!) Norvell, King Rat Ian Richards and a host of celeb Rats!
all Rats Together!
A lovely surprise for Vincent- Daughter Lucy arrived as a surprise guest! Here she is with Rhys, her former school chum!
A great Gala Night with a lot of fun and some money raised for a great charity- celebrating 25 years of Brick Lane! Hoorah for us!