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Monday, November 07, 2005

THEATRICAL REVIEW 

STRICTLY COME DANCING - DARTFORD ORCHARD THEATRE

Of course, this has not been influenced by Wyndham's epic tale of endless curtain calls, the subtlety of Shakespeare's poetry and ballooning bladders (The Ballooning Bladders ... a lovely name for a retirement cottage, the sort of place you'd see on a calendar of English scenes, don't you think?). No, obviously this is very downmarket and provincial compared to what is described by the urbane Wyndham.

The other thing is that I didn't actually go to see the production myself. The last time I went to the theatre (... also Dartford Orchard) we walked out during the interval of a play in which Steven Berkoff unconvincingly played a working class hard nut. Oh, and several years before that I remember seeing Donald Pleasence in The Caretaker. On leaving the theatre, I heard someone behind me say "that was rather circumspect, don't you think?"

The excellent Mr Pleasence has been dead for ten years.

The people who went to see the play were the in-laws, who have become a rich source of blogging material, mainly because they seem to lead a much more exciting life than us with their frequent holidays, weekends away and the like. Where did it all go wrong?

The production was a mid week matinee, and we seem to have found out more about the hosts than the actual dancers.

Host number one is Lionel Blair. Apparently he is only about 5 foot 4, and wears cuban heel shoes. He did a soft shoe shuffle, but doesn't throw himself into it with the enthusiasm we normally expect from him because he is, apparently "in his 70's these days". Short, wearing high heels, not able to cut a rug like he used to ... yes, Lionel has turned into Prince. Oh, hold on, he is probably in better shape, as Prince recently had a hip replacement.

Host number two is Jane McDonald. The former star of that cruise ship thing, she is always described as "a down-to-earth Yorkshire lass", which of course means, like everyone not living inside the M25 she grew up wi' outside lavvy and ginnel in't back, and she is happy but stupid. These days she appears on the popular daytime programme Loose Women. I've only seen in once (waiting in for the gas fitters to turn up). Jane got a standing ovation for saying "well, my mother's on the large side - a size 20, and SHE has a lot more energy than some of these thin women".

According to the in-laws, Jane is "lovely and down-to-earth, there are no sides to her". The father-in-law was absolutely certain that she was staring at him throughout her time on stage, but "it was just those stage lights blinding her - she couldn't see anybody in the audience."

Having seen Ms McDonald on Never Mind The Buzzcocks, I think she could adequately be described as man mad, so I can't be so sure of the father-in-law's assessment.

Anyway, the rest of the show seemed to go past in a blur. Apparently the father-in-law enjoyed it a lot as the female dancers were all wearing very short skirts.

The costumes, according to the mother-in-law, were "lovely, as good as anything you'd see in a West End production", and the tickets were also a lot cheaper.

Right, I'm sure that's more than enough. Want to keep it very down-to-earth. There are no sides to me. Honestly.

Comments:
Is it a stage-version of the popular Saturday night entertainment, or do you mean Strictly Ballroom? Just wondering.

You forgot to say that Lionel is very, very orange.

Urbane, I like. It's going to be top of the list of good notices I'm planning for the blog. "Urbane" - Betty.
 
Wyndham - It is based on the popular Saturday night entertainment, with professional dancers choreographed by the people on Strictly Come Dancing, and local amateur dancers can participate. Fortunately, Natasha Kaplinsky has nothing to do with it.

Lionel is out-oranged by his shirt at www.lionelblair.com.
 
Not by much!
 
Remeber the advert about his hair style, "But Lionel Bliar dosen't have a hair cut like that"
"he would if he came in here!"
 
Oh aye, Jack. Lionel has a fine head of hair for a man of his age, actually, and I'm sure that most of it is his own.
 
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