Dates and Locations
Guildford Yvonne Arnaud Theatre – 18th April – 6th May 1989
Bath Theatre Royal – 8th – 13th May 1989
Bradford Alhambra – 29th May – 3rd Jun 1989
Norwich Theatre Royal – 19th – 24th June 1989
Other locations unknown – can you fill in the blanks?
YOU’LL DO FOR ME!
by MICHAEL PERTWEE
Cast in order of appearance
ACT ONE: The flat above Reaper and Fogg, Jewellers. Evening
TIME: The present WEATHER: English
There will be one interval of fifteen minutes
for You’ll Do For Me company:
Cannon and Ball – Reaper and Fogg
To describe Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball as stars is at the very least an understatement. To describe them as superstars and a true phenomenon is perhaps more accurate.
Since their debut TV series for London Weekend Television in 1979 they have not only become top TV stars with their own television series and specials every year, but they are – without doubt – the biggest box office attraction in the UK.
To have not only sold out all other comedy acts, but to have outdrawn even rock superstar Bruce Springsteen is a totally unique achievement which puts them in a category all of their own.
In the summer of 85 their ten-week run at the Opera House, Blackpool, smashed all previous records by playing to over 300,000 people and grossing over �1m. Results in 86 were the same when they played a season at the Bournemouth International Centre. Bookings for their 86/87 pantomime flooded in and Babes in the Wood at the Alhambra Theatre was yet another success with the record-books once again having to be rewritten!
Cannon and Ball’s star status is further enhanced by the fact that they are the only act in showbusiness to have won three separate National Club Awards; they have enjoyed success as recording artist’s with both singles and albums; starred in their own feature film The Boys in Blue, triumphed in numerous popularity polls and have also been named Showbusiness Personalities of the Year by the Variety Club of Britain – the highest accolade that can be bestowed by fellow professionals.
So, what is the secret of this unequalled success which has included Royal shows, a memorable appearance on This Is Your Life and their top-rated Christmas Spectaculars? It is without question a success which has evolved from an initial friendship between two Oldham lads who got together to form a singing act.
It soon became evident that Bobby had a natural flair for comedy and this was complemented by Tommy’s ability to remain straight-faced; acting as the perfect foil. Singing remained part of their act, but the comedy content grew stronger – as did their popularity.
`It got to the point where we were rehearsing our act on the factory floor’ says Tommy, `many were the times that we were reprimanded by the foreman! Then out of the blue, Wally Harper, Bobby’s cousin and a professional comic, booked us for a week at a club in Wales. The response was terrific. After that we decided to give up our daytime jobs and concentrate on showbusiness’.
Since then their career of over twenty years is showbusiness history – their series and specials are always in the top TV ratings and they play to capacity audiences not just in the UK, but even in Australia and the Middle East.
‘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’.
Tommy and Bobby are both happily married and live close to each other in their native Lancashire. Tommy is married to Margaret and they have two daughters, Janette and Julie, and three grandsons, Ben Thomas, Alex and Matthew. Bobby’s wife is Yvonne, and they have a daughter Joanne. Bobby still retains close links with his sons Darren and Robert from his first marriage.
In their increasingly rare off-stage moments, both Bobby and Tommy like to keep fit. Whilst Bobby also enjoys the solitude of the riverbanks, engaging in his favourite pastime, fishing, Tommy prefers to divide his time betwen playing golf, following football, and his racehorse.
1987 was just as busy as every for Cannon and Ball. Following the finish of their pantomime in Bradford at the end of February, Tommy and Bobby took a well-earned holiday and then went straight into a spring tour from mid-April until the end of June. Their summer season at Blackpool Opera House commenced mid-July until the end of October – another marathon record-breaking fourteen week season.
The Guinness Book of records had to be rewritten yet again when Cannon and Ball took their pantomime Babes in the Wood for the 1987/88 Christmas Season to the most famous variety theatre in the world, the London Palladium. During its breathtalting �2m run another record was created, when during one week ticket sales contributed to the biggest box office gross in the history of the British theatre.
The London Palladium embraces true stars and makes them feel at home, and the London Palladium has certainly become a second home to Tommy and Bobby; in addition to their pantomime season, they recorded their TV Christmas Special from the same stage; appeared with Jimmy Tarbuck as his star guests in LWT’s Live from the palladium series; and appeared in the Royal Variety Show before Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness Prince Philip.
Touring, television and a summer season in Paignton (with special guests, The Three Degrees) occupied most of 1988, and Christmas 1988/89 found Tommy and Bobby back on home ground, when they took Babes in the Wood to the Palace Theatre in Manchester.
Brian Rix – Director
Sir Brian Rix, CBE DL is a Yorkshireman and as he played Yorkshire League cricket many years ago, he still follows that county, in spite of their recent troubles. However, in 1942 he became an actor, not a cricketer, when he appeared in Donald Wolfit’s Company – on tour and at the now demolished St. James’s Theatre repertory in Harrogate followed, then a spell in the RAF and down the mines as a Bevin Boy. He was demobbed in 1947 and immediately became an actor-manager, remaining as such for 30 years. He ran reps in Ilkley, Bridlington and Margate eventually coming to London and the Whitehall Theatre in 1950, with Reluctant Heroes, which ran for 1,610 performances. He stayed at the Whitehall for nearly seventeen years, appearing pretty well every night, and only five plays were needed in all that time. Dry Rot was the second one there and ran for 1,475 performances, with Brian playing Fred Phipps. Simple Spymen followed and then came One for the Pot and Chase Me Comrade! Brian then moved to the Garrick Theatre, where he enjoyed long runs in Let Sleeping Wives Lie, She’s Done it Again and Dont Just Lie There, Say Something! His only comparatively short run was in A Bit Between the Teeth at the Cambridge Theatre, although this was extremely successful on tour. Finally, he moved back to the Whitehall Theatre with Fringe Benefits, which finished on 8 January 1977. During those thirty years, Brian attracted a huge following for his farces, plus of course the famous ones he presented and played in for BBC Television over a period of seventeen years. He also appeared in a number of TV serials, including Dial Rix, Six of Rix, Men of Affairs, and A Roof Over My Head. All this, as well as starring in twelve films.
Brian Rix then retired as an actor-manager and his subsequent `credits’ may seem rather unusual for an actor who recently appeared as Alf Tubbe in a revival of Dry Rot!
He was Managing Director of Conney-Marsh Theatres from 1977 to 1980 and from 1977 to 1984 he presented the only television programme in the world specifically for people with a mental handicap, Lets Go on the BBC. In 1980 he became the Secretary General of MENCAP (the Royal Society for Mentally Handicapped Children and Adults) and retired from this important work at the end of 1987. He returned as the Chairman of the Royal Society in April 1988 and also returned to the theatre for a short season at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, in the same year. He serves on many voluntary bodies. He is Her Majesty’s Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, Chairman of the Arts Council Drama Panel, Chairman of the Arts Council Monitoring Committee for Arts of Arts and Disabled People, Chairman of the Friends of Normansfield, Past President and Trustee of the Lords Taverners, Trustee of the Theatre of Comedy, Governor of the MENCAP City Foundation, Governor of the English Speaking Union, President of the Mental Health Film Council, Director of the MENCAP Unit Trust(the first Unit Trust to benefit a charity and now the United Charities Unit Trust), and on and on. He has received a number of Honorary Degrees; he was created a CBE in 1977 and was knighted nine years later.
He published the first part of his autobiography in 1975 entitled My Farce from My Elbow. He has just finished part two, Farce About Face, to be published by Hodder and Stoughton in May this year.
Sir Brian is married to actress Elspet Gray and they have four children – Shelley, Louisa, Jamie and Jonty. All are involved in the arts world, except their eldest Shelley who has Down’s Syndrome. Thus their mutual interest in working for people with a mental handicap is of an intensely personal nature.
Sir Brian directed a play for the Oxford Festival before joining MENCAP in 1980.
Linda Regan – Diane
Linda is best known to millions of television viewers as April in five series of the smash hit Hi-De-Hi. Linda has just been playing Sheila in A Day in the Death of Joe Egg and Pauline in One for the Road at Chelmsford, she played Marjorie in the controversial American play Extremities and Linda in Wife Begins at Forty.
Her last three summer seasons have been Brooke Ashton in Noises Off at Eastbourne, Julie Carrington in The Mating Grime with her Hi-De-Hi co-stars Paul Shane and Nikki Kelly at the Babbacombe Theatre Torquay, and April in Hi-De-Hi with Ruth Madoc and Paul Shane in Bournemouth.
This last Christmas Linda played Dick Whittington at Loughborough. The year before, she was the Funny Fairy in Jack and the Beanstalk at Wimbledon and before that she played Cinderella at Yeovil.
Other theatre appearances include the Girl in Ira Levin’s Veronica’s Room, Rosie in Steaming, Cyrenne in Rattle of a Simple Man, Lady Macduff in Macbeth, Lady Percy in Henry IV, Mary McGinty in Once a Catholic, Marilyn Munroe in The Legend and Maddie Go-to-Bed in Dirty Linen.
Last year Linda played Burnside’s Girlfriend in The Bill. Her other TV appearances include C.A.T.S. Eyes, Dempsey and Makepeace, The Kelly Monteith Show, The Proofing Session (A play for Britain), Bergerac and The Gentle Touch.
Her film credits include Carry on England, The Hiding Place, Lost in London, The Proofing Session (a Play for Britain), Bergerac, The Gentle Touch and Denis Watermans girlfriend in an episode of Minder.
Richard Avery – Inspector Ruff
Richard Avery was born in Staffordshire. Since drama school he has worked in rep all over the country. Roles include Norman in The Norman Conquests, Sergeant Kite in The Recruiting Officer, Freddie in The Deep Blue Sea, Jim in The Glass Menagerie, The Ghost and Player King in Hamlet, Anthony Hope in Sweeney Todd, and Harry in the national tour of Funny Peculiar. For Chichester Festival Theatre Richard played Evans in Robert and Elizabeth, Flute in A Midsummer Nights Dream, Captain Lancey in Translations and Matte in Mr Punting and his Man Matti. In London, work includes Autolycus in The Winters Tale (Arts Theatre), Paul Gauguin in Aries, Theo in The Small Poppies (Young Vic), Biederman in The Fire Raisers (Chichester and Watermark Arts Centre), Smirnov and Stepanovitch in The Bear and The Proposing (The Kings Head), and most recently the title role in Macbeth (Young Vic). Also at Chichester Richard played Evans in Robert and Elizabeth (main house) and Flute in A Midsummer Nights Dream (Tent). Television includes Crossroads, The Professionals, Dempsey and Makepeace, Knockback, A Killing on the Exchange. Radio work includes The Shipwreck series and Some Sunny Day both for Radio 4. Richard is married to actress Andrea Wray, has an eight year old daughter and a fourteen year old whippet called Bluebottle.
Mandy Humphrey – Mrs Barker
Mandy trained at the Birmingham School of Speech and Drama and made her West End debut in The Seven Year Itch playing the part of Pat at the Albany Theatre in 1985. This was followed by a National No. 1 tour of Boeing Boeing. Also in London she appeared at the Vaudeville in Alan Ayckbourn’s Woman in Mind.
Her repertory theatre work includes playing Annie in Chicago at the Wolsey Theatre Ipswich, Hot Box Girl in Guys and Dolls at Coventry and recently she played Rita in Educating Rita, Carrie in Barefoot in the Park, and Doris in The Hollow at the Southwold Theatre.
Mandy enjoys pantomime and has appeared in several. She played Prince Charming in Cinderella at the Theatre Royal Wakefield and the Belfast Royal Opera House, and the title role in Aladdin at Torquay.
Television work includes Weekend for Granada, and Fell Tiger for BBC Scotland. She played Fiona in the BBC Sit-Com Help, the Whizz Kid in How to Be Cool again for Granada, and her most recent appearance was Hettie in Joint Account with Hannah Gordon and Peter Egan.
Mandy can be seen in a new film The Dressmaker currently on release.
Edna Larsen – Lotti
Erna Larsen was born in Denmark, then as a small child moved with her family to New Zealand. There she trained for the theatre and appeared as Sorel Bliss in Hay Fever and Rhoda Marley in Rookery Nook. She had a small speaking part in the film Second Time Lucky and then won the role of Dinah, leading girl, in Came a Hot Friday, which was released in Britain by Miracle and shown on BBC 2. Edna featured as various seductresses on the last Beadles About series and is pleased to be making her British theatre debut.
Martin Sutherland – Designer
Martin Sutherland trained at Croydon College of Art and the Slade in London where he won the Leslie Hurry designer’s award. After leaving the Slade, Martin was given an Arts Council Bursary and spent one year designing for the Half Moon Theatre. Since that time, he has designed for many London theatres including the Kings Head, Islington, the Riverside, the Royal Court and the Lyric, Hammersmith. He designed Charleys Aunt with Griff Rhys Jones at the Aldwych Theatre and Le Baiter de la Fee for the Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House and in Montreal, Canada.
He designed the first show to open the New Victoria Theatre in Stoke and other theatre credits include the national tours of Rough Crossing by Tom Sheppard and Widows Weeds by Anthony Shaffer. His television designs include The Puppet Man starring Roy Hudd, Golden House and Sad Paintings and The Co-Op, all for Channel 4. His most recent credits include Troilus and Cressida for the National Youth Theatre at Christchurch, Spitalfields, Noel Coward’s Suite in Two Keys at the Palace Theatre, Watford, and the Yvonne Arnold Theatre, Guildford, NF Simpson’s One Way Pendulum at RADA and product launches for Pepsi Cola and Mars Bars in Britain and Strasbourg. Martin also lectures at RADA and the Slade.
For Triumph Theatre Productions Ltd
|Chairman and Managing Director||DUNCAN C. WELDON|
|Vice Chairman||JEROME MINSKOFF|
|Deputy Managing Director||PETER WALKINS|
SIR RONALD MILLAR
|Production Assistants||GINA BARLOW
|Production co-ordinator||DAVID GRINDROD|
|Assistant Production co-ordinator||ANNETTE LYONS|
|Production Manager||CHRISTOPHER BUSH-BAILEY|
|Wardrobe Hire Managers||BILLY JAY
|Accounts Department||SAW POLO
Set built and painted by the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre Workshop. Our grateful thanks to County Kitchens for the kitchen units and appliances. Oven kindly supplied by the Shurrey Cooker Centre, Woking.