Old time Music Hall. As traditionally British as fish and chips, Morris Dancing and Christmas Panto. And by many, still loved as much today as it was in the “good ol’ days” of Marie Lloyd, Max Miller and Gracie Fields.
For those who can still remember theatre when the stars of Music Hall were the A-list celebrities of their day, variety entertainment is now a nostalgic trip down Memory Lane. To the younger generation it is a wonderful insight to how it used to be, way back when.
And it is why the Deco Theatre’s ‘Glory of Music Hall’ shows are proving so popular, especially among the senior community who relish an opportunity to roll back the years, enjoy a good laugh, and have a sing-a-long too. Oh, and not forgetting afternoon tea.
Next up is Tuesday, April 23rd, when The Deco celebrates St George’s Day with another great afternoon of fun, entertainment, and afternoon tea. All in all, a great opportunity to meet and enjoy the company of like-minded people, and have a fun time doing it.
“It all started when London’s well-known Brick Lane Musical Hall came up to Northampton and put on a show for us, which went down well,” said Jill Roach, House Manager at The Deco Theatre. “What we learnt from that was there is definitely an audience out there for old time variety entertainment, and we were keen to keep pushing it.
“And as word started to spread, and more and more people heard about what we were doing, numbers have gone up and up, to the point that our shows are now selling out.
“It’s a simple, but popular format: comedy, music, singers and sing-a-longs, and with afternoon tea served during the interval, for the older generation it’s a lovely way to spend an afternoon; for many it brings back so many memories of their younger years.”
The last ‘Glory of Music Hall’ hosted at the Deco, last November, celebrated the centenary of the Armistice that ended the First World War, but also paid tribute to the contributions of all those whose lives were touched by both World Wars, be it on active service in the Forces, or contributing to the War effort back home. There was a full house, generating a wonderful atmosphere during both halves of the show, and during the interval too, when tea was served.
“It is so rewarding to look out at the audience and see them having so much fun,” said entertainer Clive Fletcher, who directed and compered during that performance. “They come as couples, small groups, or as larger parties from clubs, societies, day centres, and care homes too, and they generate a lovely atmosphere, and roll back the years with us.”
Comedy was provided by magician Mel Harvey, who was very much the London spiv, with his pencil moustache and pin-striped suit. He was also very funny, and his tricks extremely clever, with the inevitable audience participation.
Katarina Warcaba accompanied Clive on keyboard as he led the audience though a catalogue of popular sing-a-long songs from both Wars, while singer Fern Roach ended the show with a tribute to Dame Vera Lynn, and mixed together, they came up with the perfect recipe for a much-appreciated afternoon’s entertainment.
Said Clive: “The feedback has been fantastic, and what we’ve found is that many people have come along to the show, and enjoyed themselves so much not only have they come back, they’ve recommended it to others, and it’s gone from there.
“But I do think it’s a lovely way for older people to have an afternoon out knowing they’re going to be entertained, and with it, in the company of others who come to the show for exactly the same reason,” he said. “For those of us on stage, and behind the scenes at The Deco, it’s a pleasure to do it, and we’ll put on another great show for St George’s Day!
“I should point out, by the way, that some of the older people come accompanied by their carers, and we get great feedback about the show from them too!”
For more information about ‘The Glory of Music Hall – St George’s Day’ at The Deco, go to https://www.thedeco.co.uk/event/glory-music-hall-3/, or call The Deco on 01604 491005.