Pantomime - 1993 Sheffield
22nd Dec 93 - 30th Jan 94.
Cinderella, Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield As Baron Hardup and Buttons
Tickets £6.50 to £13.50.
Cast and Running order
Cast in order of appearance
Fairy Godmother: Polly Perkins
Scene One: Fairyland
Scene One: The Palace Ballroom
Directors: Paul Elliott & Stephen Barry
For The Cinderella Company
Company Manager: Bill Anderson
Musical Director: Rick Coates
Cannon and Ball
Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball are Britain's funniest and most successful double act. In a career spanning over 25 years they have achieved a string of honours that puts them among the all-time 'greats' of show business.
On TV they have starred in their own series practically every year since 1979, and the success of their variety series and specials was recently enhanced by their own game show, Cannon and Ball's Casino and a highly successful comedy acting debut in the YTV sitcom Plaza Patrol.
However, it is as the undisputed kings of live entertainment that Cannon and Ball have set standards that will probably never be bettered. Indeed, they have smashed box-office records all over the country-and continue to do so with consummate ease.
For example, they celebrated their 25th anniversary as a double-act in 1991 by starring in Britain's longest-running summer season-25 weeks at the North Pier, Blackpool. They first appeared at the venue in 1980 and played to capacity business-and their 1991 season was a virtual re-run of that success.
But then, Blackpool is a happy hunting ground for the Oldham-born twosome. In the space of ten weeks at the massive Opera House they grossed over £1 million! Their debut season at the prestigious London Palladium in pantomime set more records. Over £2 million was grossed at the box office, and in the space of one week, Cannon and Ball created the biggest box office takings in the history of British theatre.
In practically every pantomime season and summer show in which they star, Cannon and Ball set new records. It's become a 'habit' that has made them a show business phenomenon.
And, to add to their pedigree, they remain the only act in British showbiz to have won three separate National Club Awards; have starred in several Royal Variety Shows; received the highest awards in showbiz by being named Variety Club Personalities of the Year; starred in their own feature film The Boys in Blue, which in addition to enjoying huge success in the cinema has since gone on to become a video bestseller, and been featured as the subjects of This is Your Life.
And there's still plenty more to come, because Cannon and Ball have never been known to sit back and rest on their laurels-no matter how successful they have become.
"We're still only youngsters", laughs Tommy, "and both of us have loads of ambitions to fulfil".
"We would like to make another film-perhaps we should go to Hollywood and do it in style!-and we're also frustrated pop stars! Bob and I began as a singing duo and we still love to belt out a few songs in our stage and TV shows."
"The only difference is that whereas Bob would love a chart success with a really raunchy rock 'n' roll number, I would prefer a romantic ballad."
Even away from showbusiness both have outstanding talents in other fields. Tommy has chaired a professional football club, is one of the best golfers in showbiz and owns and rides his own horses, while Bobby has his own recording studio and writes poetry. Bobby also likes to relax by encouraging his sons Robert, a talented comedian like his father, and Darren, a gifted singer/ songwriter.
Cannon and Ball have succeeded in establishing themselves as showbusiness legends. It is no surprise to learn that they are also two of the biggest personalities away from the spotlight.
"We have no pretensions" says Tommy. "We're a couple of ordinary blokes doing what we do best -entertaining people and making them laugh. We love it. The important thing is that we haven't changed in our attitudes. We're still Bobby and Tommy to everyone, and still get a kick every time someone shouts out 'Rock on Tommy' in the street"
Summer '92 found Tom and Bob at the Britannia Pier in Great Yarmouth where they took their record breaking 25th Anniversary Show which proved such a blockbuster in Blackpool.
They have just returned from their second tour of America and have already been signed for a third coast-to-coast tour which will begin on April 1st 1994.
Polly Perkins, known most recently as Trish Valentine in Eldorado, has left her beautiful home in the Andalucian mountains to play Fairy Godmother for us this Christmas. Polly comes from a long line of theatrical people. Her father, Sheffield-born Dickie Arnold did panto every year, and as a child she remembers being backstage and loving every minute of it.
Polly's career started at the age of 15 at London's famous Windmill Theatre. She then went on to mix her acting and singing career making many singles and albums and appearing on Ready, Steady, Go, Juke Box Jury and many other TV pop programmes. She also toured with the Searchers and was very much part of the swinging '60s.
Polly managed to cover the ground of live entertainment in the '70s appearing as leading lady in most West End nightclubs-Latin Quarter, Blue Angel etc. She wrote her own column in The Stage newspaper for many years and had columns in DJ Monthly writing about what she knows best-showbiz. Her first book Songs for the Liberated Woman was published and an album released on Decca at the same time. During this time and until moving to Spain, her TV credits include: Ready, Steady, Go.', Song and Dance, Minder, Nanny, Rules of Justice and Flickers and she has appeared in The Sweeney, Dr Who, Z Cars and The Avengers. Theatre credits include a tour of Salad Days, roles in Nights of the Comedy, Top of the Town, Let my People Come and A Windmill Girl. Polly has appeared in Spanish theatre productions of Oliver! and Gypsy. Pantomimes include Aladdin, Cinderella as Dandini, Goldilocks and The Wizard of Oz as the Wicked Witch of the West.
Recently she's popped back to the UK to do her one-woman show and many TV chat shows including Pebble Mill, This Morning, The Big Breakfast and The Big E.
Sheffield born and daughter of comedian Bobby Dennis, Caroline studied classical and jazz piano at Leeds College of Music and Drama at Sheffield where she joined Theatre Vanguard at the Crucible Theatre. Caroline's theatre credits cover repertory, national tours, and West End including Noises Off, What the Butler Saw, Last of the Summer Wine, Frankenstein, The Firebird, Godspell, two seasons in Buddy at the Victoria Palace Theatre, and recently Caroline played Cynthia Lennon in Imagine at the Liverpool Playhouse.
Extensive television credits include Josephine in both series of Carla Lane's Leaving, Betty Barlow in Hi De Hi, Annie Lipman in Pride of Our Alley, and she has been featured in episodes of 'Allo 'Alto, Three Up Two Down, Home James, Hilary, Studio, Crown Court, and Bulman.
Continuing the family tradition in comedy, Caroline was one of the four featured artistes in the original Laughter Show with Les Dennis and the late Dustin Gee and she was the leading actress for Bobby Davro in the last two series of Davro. She has just completed a theatre season as the leading actress for the Krankies. This is Caroline's ninth pantomime for E&B Productions, having previously played Cinderella, Prince Charming and Aladdin.
Ward Allen and Roger the Dog
"Roger the Dog is a howling success, everyone comes to see Roger," says Ward Allen, "he's the biggest canine superstar since Lassie, and I couldn't be more pleased. Everyone loves him, they tend to talk to him and ignore me, but I don't mind because Roger is the star of the act, after all he must be the only dog in the country to have his own bank account (Barklays), and head his own thriving company, Roger the Dog Enterprises specialising in Roger the Dog souvenirs."
Although shy about some of his vital statistics, Roger is 3ft tall, has huge black eyes and very long ears. He is a keen supporter of the RSPCA, loves sausages, and his ambitions are to become a megastar and to visit Disneyland.
In 1982 Roger and Ward starred in their own BBC1 TV series called Roger & Co and were subsequently seen in the Roger the Dog Show also for BBC1 for the next 3 years.
In addition the two-some have made appearances in numerous TV variety shows and their Royal credits include shows before the Prince of Wales and The Children's Royal Variety Show on ITV, in the presence of HRH the Princess Royal.
In addition to his ventriloquist abilities Ward is an experienced compere, a skilled balloon sculptor and talented magician. Ward's main hobby is golf but he also finds time to answer Roger's fan mail, Ward may be the only man in the country who keeps a dog and barks himself.
The twosome have spent enjoyable summer seasons at major venues in Blackpool, Southport, Sandown, Isle of Wight and Great Yarmouth as well as successful pantomimes in Belfast, Aberdeen, Hull, Richmond and Bournemouth. In their trusty 'Dogmobile', Ward and Roger cover thousands of miles a year, and Roger refuses to do any of the driving.
Cheryl is probably best known for her appearances on television in comedy shows such as Copycats, Patter Merchants, It's Wicked, Kings of Comedy, That's Showbusiness, Filthy Rich and Catflap and Night of 100 Stars.
Even so, she continues to follow her first love the musical theatre. Appearances in London's West End include; The Mikado, Side by Side by Sondheim, Elvis - the Musical and the non-singing role of Mary McGinty the wayward convent girl in the hit play Once a Catholic. When the showbiz revue Wicked Lips opened at the Donmar Warehouse, Covent Garden, Cheryl's affectionate but controversial mimicry of stars such as Julie Andrews, Bonnie Langford and Sarah Brightman, led directly to an appearance at the Edinburgh Festival, and a guest spot with Vince Hill in his Radio 2 series Solid Gold Music. Recently Cheryl made a return visit to the studios of Radio 2 when she was asked to partner the impressionist Johnny More in an hour-long variety show special.
Summer seasons range from The Laughter Shoiv with Charlie Williams at the South Pier, Blackpool to The Spa Follies with Stan Boardman at Scarborough. Last summer she shared the stage with Little and Large at the Sandown Pavilion, Isle of Wight, in a music and comedy spectacular.
Cabaret has taken Cheryl all over the world: Canada, Sicily, Italy, Spain, Hong Kong and various towns and seaside resorts in the UK. Christmas-time means pantomime for Cheryl, and during the last few years she has had the good fortune to be playing alongside many of the country's top personalities; one of the most memorable being Jack and the Beanstalk with Russ Abbot, which over a period of four years visited most of the major cities in the UK.
Cheryl toured the country in a revival of that old favourite from the 60's The Black and White Minstrel Show in which she was the principal female singer and comedienne.
Nigel began his career with the Welsh Drama Company, having originally trained as a drama teacher. His seasons included Gawain and the Green Knight at the Sherman Theatre, Under Milk Wood in various tours and several repertory seasons at Cardiff.
Nigel's varied career has taken him abroad many times on cruise ships and seasons in Spain, Stockholm and Italy, as well as seasons with Bob Monkhouse, John Hanson, Diana Dors and Tommy Trinder in Music Hall, performing his speciality piano act.
He has been on national tours of Pinocchio and played the Wicked Witch in the tour of Hansel and Gretel, and completed a long tour of Billy Liar with Mark Curry and Linda Davidson.
His most recent television appearances have been on the Children's Channel and on Border Television's Krankies' TV
In his spare moments Nigel works as a freelance costume designer, and has created the costumes for the national and European tours of The Rocky Horror Show, most recently at the Casino de Paris, and for Perchance to Dream, Godspell, many pantomimes and for the cast of Prisoner-Cell Block H in the West End.
Not surprisingly he designs all the costumes and wigs for Peter Robbins and himself as the Ugly Sisters, and for many pantomime dames around the country. This year marks his twentieth pantomime, and his twelfth for E&B Productions. Peter and Nigel have appeared in Cardiff, Leeds and Croydon with Windsor Davies and Dame Hilda Bracket, Bournemouth, again with Windsor Davies as well as Stefan Dennis and June Brown, and Nigel is delighted to be appearing in Sheffield this year.
Peter Robbins began his career at the age of sixteen with the Westminster Children's Theatre and has played repertory throughout the country.
He has appeared in national tours of the rock musical, Hair and toured extensively with Lionel Blair in The Monkey Walk and seasons with No Sex Please We're British. Peter has recently been featured in the Warner Brothers' film Little Shop of Horrors and appeared on the Krankies' TV show and for Sky TV's The Children's Channel.
As a director and performer he has been involved with several major national tours of A Christmas Carol as Scrooge, followed by tours of The Wind in the Willows, Pinocchio and The Wizard of Oz. Peter appeared at the King's Theatre, Edinburgh as the Wicked Queen in Snow White last year.
Pantomime engagements have included two seasons at Ilford's Kenneth More Theatre, where he first teamed up with Nigel Ellacott as Ugly Sister, followed by Hayes with Dennis Waterman and Rula Lenska, with Rolf Harris in Bournemouth, and seasons with Les Dennis, Paul Nicholas, Dame Hilda Bracket, Windsor Davies and last year with Stefan Dennis in Bournemouth.
An accomplished puppeteer, Peter has recently been involved in creating puppets for a production of Sleeping Beauty and for the BBC. This year marks his twelfth pantomime for E&B Productions.
Claire began her professional career at fourteen, appearing in Educating Marmalade for Thames TV. Other TV credits include Who Sir, Me Sir (BBC), Roll Over Beethoven (Central), The Country Boy (BBC), Who Dares Wins (Channel 4), The Fear (Euston Films), Grange Hill (BBC), The Bill Xmas Special (Thames) and she played Maria'in a two-handed film for the National TV and Film School.
At seventeen Claire left Drama School to appear in a fifties Rock 'n' Roll musical with Jess Conrad called Leave Him to Heaven. She then went on to appear with Helen Shapiro in See Saw at the Royal Theatre, Northampton, played Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof at the Shaw Theatre directed by Stephen Gryff, followed by national tours of The Rocky Horror Show as Janet, and Susan in No Sex Please We're British - her first comedy - with Margaret Ashcroft. Claire also appeared in the musical Bernadette at the Dominion Theatre, London. Most recently Claire played the part of Penny in the musical A Slice of Saturday Night and the Oldham Coliseum Theatre.
This will be Claire's sixth year working for E&B Productions, for whom her other pantomimes have included Mother Goose, Robinson Crusoe, Babes in the Wood, Cinderella, and Aladdin.
In her spare time Claire writes her own songs and co-writes with other groups and producers.
At varying times, Bill has been Stage Manager, Company Manager, Actor and Director in several branches of Entertainment. These have included West End plays such as Cider with Rosie, Rule of Three, Twelve Angry Men, The Power of Persuasion, Windfall, Too True to Be Good as well as summer season shows at Blackpool, Torquay, Scarborough, Eastbourne and Paignton and magic shows (Paul Daniels) at Blackpool and the Prince of Wales Theatre, and not forgetting pantomimes at Coventry, Oxford, Billingham, Guildford, Hastings, Eastbourne and many more. Ice shows at Wembley, Brighton, Paignton, Manchester, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Bombay and Europe. He has also worked on Walt Disney Arena shows, Disney on Parade European tour; opera at Sadler's Wells, Versailles, Aldeburgh, Sweden, Belgium and Holland; concerts at King's Lynn, the Aldeburgh and City of London Festivals and with the Russian State Balalaika Orchestra and Singer and Dancers. His provincial tours have included The Odd Couple, Hindle Wakes, Privates on Parade, Taking Steps, West Side Story, The Unexpected Guest, Boeing Boeing, Go Back for Murder, Spring and Port Wine and Body and Soul, in addition to which he has worked in repertory in Darlington, Tynemouth, Leicester, Carlisle and Glasgow.
The Constance Grant Babes
The Constance Grant School of Dancing has been established in Sheffield for over 10 years. Founded by Miss Constance Grant and now run by her daughter Judith Silvester the school covers a wide range of dance activities. As well as catering for recreational dancing, pupils trained at the school perform in professional theatre work all over the world, many starting their careers as Pantomime Babes. The school has provided juvenile teams in and around the area for many years, but the beautiful Lyceum Theatre Sheffield is a favourite venue and is enjoyed by all who take part.
RED TEAM Sarah Mills, Elinor Baker, Trudi Esburger, Kate Dawson, Cheryl Davidson, Rowena Fieldsend, Sarah Forshaw, Vikki Shore, Jody Smith, Jessica Mappin
BLUE TEAM Francesca Allsopp, Claire Littlewood, Kelly Clayton, Kate Storey, Judy Hampson, Laura Lister, Lucy Mayblin, Amy Wormald, Sarah Barker, Claire Hammond
Sam Spencer Lane - Choreographer
Sam trained as a dancer, and after a successful performing career, she was invited to choreograph three children's series for Thames Television called Illusion.
Since then her work has covered many aspects of dance and drama, creating new ideas on stage and on camera. Her choreographic credits include, Barry Humphries' Back with a Vengeance at the Strand Theatre, Jim Davidson's Falklands Special, Children in Need, The Eurovision Song Contest, Songbook at Mountview Theatre, Macbeth at the Watermill Theatre, a series of Melvin and Maureen Music-a-Gram, The Comedy of Errors, and Little Shop of Horrors at the Mountview Theatre. Sam is happy to be choreographing her fifth pantomime for E&B Productions.
Rick Coates - Musical Director
During a varied career Rick has been privileged enough to work with a whole host of household names including Freddie Starr, Norman Wisdom, Jim Davidson, the Nolans, the Krankies, Tony Christie, Jimmy Cricket and, of course, Cannon and Ball. His work has also included writing incidental music for radio and television as well as brief spells in the musical theatre on touring productions of Cats and Les Miserables.
More recently he has been in Florida assisting Tommy and Bobby in their bid to put their unique brand of comedy truly on the map in the United States.
Rick is delighted to be in Sheffield having been Musical Director on Cannon and Ball's last two pantomimes in Hull and Darlington respectively.
Rick is a keen golfer and tennis player and likes to spend his spare time watching his local football team Blackpool "Wren Rovers".
Graham McLusky - Lighting Designer
Graham first became interested in stage lighting when he was appointed as lighting designer to his parents' theatre company, 'The Elizabethans' at the age 10! (he is still associated with the company nearly thirty years later).
He trained at LAMDA in 1974 studying stage lighting. He then joined the Royal Theatre and Opera House, Northampton in 1976. Since then he has worked for several theatre companies including the Redgrave, Farnham and Lincoln Theatre Royal. He was invited to join Harrogate Theatre as Lighting Designer and Technician and spent several years there with the repertory company.
In 1982 he began a full time career in a freelance capacity and now operates a lighting consultancy from Lincoln. He also owns a lighting firm which handles the design and supply of special theatrical, night club and architectural lighting. Graham is married, with children, and lives in a quiet Lincolnshire village next to the runway of one of the most active RAF bases in the area!
Over the years Graham has worked on well over 200 shows for West End, repertory, touring and fringe theatre. He has lit the highly successful, hit musical Buddy at London's Victoria Palace Theatre and in Canada, the USA and on Broadway. He also lit the national tour of Elvis - the Musical. Graham has been involved with a wide variety of comedies, thrillers, tragedies, musicals, concerts and many E&B pantomimes. Last year he lit Goldilocks at the Wimbledon Theatre and Aladdin at the Lyceum in Sheffield. He recently prepared the national tours of Whose Life Is It Anyway?, The Cemetery Club and Rebecca for Lincoln Theatre Royal.
Stephen Barry - Co-Director
Appointed Artistic Director of Harrogate Theatre in 1974 following periods at the National, Mermaid, the Yvonne Arnaud and the Cheltenham Everyman Theatres. At Harrogate he directed many productions, including The Seagull with Barbara Jefford and Heartbreak House with Norman Woolland and Paula Wilcox. In 1977 he emigrated to Perth, Western Australia for 5 years, where his productions included The Man for Mukinupin by Dorothy Hewett, which he commissioned, and Death of a Salesman with Warren Mitchell. From 1982-86 he was Artistic Director of the Redgrave, Farnham and the Director of the Theatre Royal, Bath 1986-1990. He has directed many freelance productions, including Noises Off, The Rivals and The Cat and the Canary. Since Stephen's appointment as Chief Executive of Sheffield Theatre in 1990 he has directed The Norman Conquests and The Gingerbread Man in the Crucible Theatre and Dick Whittington at the Sheffield Lyceum.
Nick Thomas - Co-Producer
Nick Thomas started in showbusiness as a teenage puppeteer working on cruise ships but got bored with globe-trotting in 1979 after a particularly choppy Atlantic crossing with a particularly nasty hangover. The following year he "hung up the puppets" and "pulled a few strings" in other directions and became a producer of summer shows. Early "discoveries" included Keith Harris and Orville, Jimmy Cricket and the Grumbleweeds who helped Nick emerge as the country's busiest summer show producer by the mid eighties, when he signed up young impressionist Bobby Davro with whom he has worked ever since. Nick started producing pantomimes in 1983 with a rather novel production of Robinson Crusoe in Outer Space in Preston of all places. By 1988 around a dozen theatres staged his pantomimes and an all-round sets and costume workshop beavered away. Two years and several bottles of champagne ago, a social drink with panto king Paul Elliott developed into a friendship and producing alliance between the two producers that now represents thirty annual pantomimes, one of which you are watching tonight! This year Paul and Nick's shows feature more stars than ever before, including Cannon and Ball, Linda Robson, Lesley Joseph, Rolf Harris, Wayne Sleep, Bobby Davro, the Gladiators, Little and Large, Stephan Dennis, Danny la Rue, Roy Hudd, Britt Ekland, Linda Lusardi, Brian Conley, Ian Botham, Rod Hull and Emu, the Krankies, and Frazer Hines, to name only a few! They employ nearly one thousand artistes and musicians each Christmas and over fifty full-time staff. The two producers visit all of their shows each Christmas and often pass each other on the motorway! Nick divides his time between his Yorkshire production offices and London agency from where diverse talents such as Pauline Quirk and Linda Robson, Danny Baker and Bobby Davro are represented. He has homes in London and Yorkshire with a wife and two children in one of them.)
Paul Elliott - Producer / Co-Director
Paul began his theatrical career in 1958 as an actor, but in 1964 saw the error of his ways and became a producer. In a career which has ranged from the artistic-Hedda Gabler with Glenda Jackson, The Hollow Crown with Sir Michael Redgrave and Dame Peggy Ashcroft- through to Grease starring Richard Gere, Kiss Me Kate with Kate O'Mara, and The Pirates of Penzance with Paul Nicholas, to the other end of the spectrum: Big Bad Mouse with Eric Sykes and Jimmy Edwards, and an eight-year association with Run for Your Wife in London's West End. Paul has produced or co-produced over 300 tours in the UK, 84 overseas productions (USA, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Zimbabwe, India, Europe and Borneo!), and 34 shows in London's West End, the most recent hit being Buddy - the Buddy Holly Story, now in its fifth 'rocking and rollin' year at the Victoria Palace Theatre, touring the UK, USA, Australia, Sweden, with further productions planned in Mexico, Germany and South Africa.
Last year Paul revived the Ray Cooney/Jack Good production of Elvis - the Musical (which won the Evening Standard Award for its London season at the Astoria Theatre), for a long UK tour, and a new production of Rebecca starring Simon Williams and Carmen Silvera.
Christmas is Paul's favourite time of year, as his company, in association with Nick Thomas, is the largest pantomime production organisation in England, with 30 major shows this season featuring such artists as Brian Conley, Britt Ekland, Cannon and Ball, Rolf Harris, Stefan Dennis, Max Boyce, Roy Hudd, June Brown, Danny La Rue, Derek Griffiths, Jeffrey Holland, Marti Caine and many more.
Paul's only hobbies are his wife Linda, sons Simon and Haydn Lewis, and daughter Laura Jane, drinking Nick Thomas champagne, and the occasional wager on a very slow racehorse!