Grand Theatre, Blackpool
See them as you've never seen them before, the
"Dancing" says Roy Walker,
"singing," says Les Dennis,
"sober" says Su Pollard,
"together" possibly says the audience.
While the Grand Theatre and Opera House may
quibble at North Pier's main season summer
offering billing itself as Blackpool's Biggest
Show, there could be few people who would
disagree that it is the resort's most ambitious
A few eyebrows were raised at the choice of this
particular trio as headliners but director and
choreographer Chris Baldock writers Paul Minett
and Brian Leveson, musical supervisor Sean
Whittle and music director David Lloyd Price
aren't so far off moulding a very special sort of
show on what was traditionally the pier where box
office records were only made to be broken.
Having worked together for two seasons in Don't
Dress for Dinner, Dennis and Pollard have an
instant stage rapport and together launch the
proceedings as a pair of anorak-wearing
holidaymakers. It leads into a production opener
which reveals Dennis to be no Fred Astaire but at
least he is willing to have a go.
Walker follows with the first of three
scene-stealing solo spots opening with a gutsy
James Brown number before moving into some fresh
comedy material. A second spell sees him on more
familiar territory - though he wins the best
reception of the night with a tingling version of
How Are Things In Glocca Morra to prove those
singing lessons have been worth their money.
Pollard and Dennis continue their double act with
the first ever on-stage meeting of Hi De Hi's
Peggy and Coronation Street's Mavis Wilton.
They are also allowed to flex their own talents -
the wafer-thin Pollard proving she is a better
singer than a comic and Dennis reminding us he is
a better impressionist than he is a joketeller.
But the show is more than just their three acts -
for a start there is a team of dancers and
singers helping the impressive colourful
Copacabana first half finale. Along the way there
is also this year's flavour of the month - an
energetic version of Riverdance.
Completing the bill is Richard de Vere and
Company, reviving a 1962 Russian Roulette stunt
to great effect and doing the oddest things with
his Roly Poly sized assistant Caro Cartiny.
Some trimming of the opening night version was
needed here, some tightening up was needed there,
but given time to feel its way into the end of
the pier venue and Blackpool's Biggest Show looks
set to surprise its doubters and almost live up
to its provocative title.
The company is completed by Kerry McLaughlin,
Gayle Thomas, Francesca Newitt, Lara Cottrell,
Alison Brown, Kerry Salmond, Lee Ives and Marc.