The former host of Crackerjack and the Black and White Minstrels and star of the London Palladium, Don Maclean, is to headline a night of Music Hall entertainment at The Witham in Barnard Castle on Saturday the 28th June. The show starts at 7.00pm.
The bill also features TV stars, a 92 year old veteran of the variety shows, a 100 year old ventriloquist doll, live music, top modern day musical hall acts and a host of routines paying tribute to of music hall legends. The Witham in Barnard Castle is promising a show that harks back to the good old days of Music Hall the like of which Barnard Castle has never seen before.
The ticket price for the show reflected prices of times gone by too. At only £5 each, possible because of support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the evening aims to support members of the local community to see a top live show at an affordable sum. At such bargain prices tickets are bound to go quickly so organisers are advising early purchasing, from The Witham Box Office, to avoid disappointment.
Laura Brown, Heritage Programme Coordinator at The Witham, said, "The Witham has many uses over the years. As part of the programme of events around the redevelopment work on the building we were keen, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, to remember the periods when it has been used as a music hall and concert venue. The venue has hosted the Dolly Carte Opera Company, but probably the biggest concert event was in the late 1930s when 500 people crammed into The Witham to see Wee Georgie Wood perform. We set out to recreate a show that draws on the past experiences of the historic building."
Peter Dixon of Funny Way To Be Comedy, who is producing the evening in conjunction with The Witham, added, "On this evening we wanted to draw on past themes but at the same time pushing the programme even further to create a varied evening of top quality Music Hall style entertainment the quality of which is only normally seen in big theatres. As a result we have produced a bill of seven of the highest calibre Music Hall style acts where each and every one of them has decades of experience in variety theatre. The show will be fast paced quick fire entertainment with sing along songs, live music, comedy and speciality acts. There will be something for everyone. A great family show at an incredible ticket price of £5."
Don Maclean is one of Britain’s best loved entertainers. He is fondly remembered for presenting ‘Crackerjack’ and ‘The Black & White Minstrel Show’ which he hosted on stage as well as TV. Don has spent over 40 years in show business, enjoying countless summer seasons as well as appearances at the London Palladium. Don has also been honoured with Papal Knighthood from the Vatican.
Helen Watson is recognised as one of the UK’s top Music Hall style singing performers with a routine akin to the likes of Marie Lloyd.
At 92 years old Bobby King's career stretches back an incredible 83 years. And what's even more amazing is that Bobby will be getting dressed up and made-up on to perform his famous 'Old Man Character' Albert Shufflebottom. Bobby will also act as the chairman for the whole evening.
Many a music hall chairman has described Steve Barclay as, “A melange of Music Hall and Variety favourites”. At The Witham, Steve will pay tribute to some of the legendary greats of Music Hall and Variety including Max Miller, George Formby (complete with ‘Uke’) and even one of Steve’s own favourites ‘Two Ton Tessie O’Shea’.
Writer, comic, impressionist, singer, presenter, cartoonist Alfie Joey has appeared everywhere from the Comedy Store to TV's 'Hebburn' to 'Coronation Street'. Alfie recently performed to huge success in Barnard Castle at the Funny Way To Be Comedy Club. This evening we will see another side of Alfie as the BBC Newcastle Breakfast Show presenter performs a host of impressions and number of comic song in a music hall style.
Eileen and Joe is a ventriloquist act. Eileen's grandfather, Will Cowling, was a very well-known Music Hall Ventriloquist, and Joe, the star of Eileen's show, was used by Will over 100 years ago, but he is as spruce and lively as ever in Eileen's hands. In the show at The Witham little Joe dons his soldier's outfit and, with the help of Eileen, will be singing a few old war-time songs.
Martyn St James is recognised as one of the UK's top musical directors of Music Hall, Variety and period entertainments. He is currently touring the UK's top theatres with the war-themed variety show 'Bless Em All' and the variety show 'This is Music Hall.' All the music will be played live on the evening under the direction of Martyn.
This is a show for all the family so bring along the kids, parents and grandparents for a unique experience and entertainment. Fancy hats, and even fancy dress, are wholeheartedly encouraged but by no means compulsory! A prize will be give for the best costume.