Sunday, April 08, 2007


Civic Theatre


Ted Ray did it. Vic Oliver, too. But I never thought to hear the violin played on the variety stage again. Andy Eastwood is the proud inheritor of the tradition, and on Easter Day in the Civic fiddled a selection of patriotic favourites, as well as playing banjo and Formby ukulele. He rightly lamented the demise of the comic song, though the selection he brought was ample proof of why they did not deserve to survive.

Duggie Chapman’s nostalgia-fest, appropriately entitled We’ll Meet Again, is in its fifth irony-free, over-amplified year. As well as the excellent Mr Eastwood, we had Shelley James, with memories of Ann Shelton, Vera Lynn and Our Gracie, and likeable innuendo from comic Steve Barclay.

The matinee began with a medley, or switch as we might have called it back then, and managed to cram in The Ovaltineys, Donald Peers’ Babbling Brook, Tex Ritter’s Deck of Cards, Good Night Sweetheart and two of Jimmy Perry’s pastiche songs from TV.

The show was perfectly timed, with a plethora of memories of entertainment’s finest hour. ENSA – Every Night Something Awful – was never like this.

Musical Director was Martyn St James, working brilliantly at a versatile keyboard, its possibly unpatriotic logo obscured by a huge Union Flag …