Dereham Memorial Hall
Reviewer Johnny Tait
One of the advantages of being in showbiz is that it enables us to help others, I recently asked to perform at a fundraiser for R.P awareness. Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is a disease of the eye that leads to loss of vision and blindness. RP fighting blindness works hard to facilitate the fund cutting edge research to find treatment and cure and support for those affected.
If I said the show was at Dereham Memorial in Norfolk, would you think it was a little village hall? I did! And I was wrong. The venue is a beautiful space in the middle of the town centre, shows can be presented club or theatre style with a 294 seater capacity.
Opening the show was 21-year old vocalist Chelsea Knight, having never performed professionally and with this being her first ever show of this nature, Chelsea was a bundle of nerves. When she stepped onto the stage you would never had known it, her natural charm coupled with her vocal skills meant she won the audience over instantly.
The second act on was Blacks of Steele, two vocalist/personality entertainers that have years of experience. Having begun their careers as resident entertainers on holiday centres, then moving on as visiting acts, Ian ‘Blocks’ Robinson and Dave Steele have joined forces to produce a fast moving act that would delight any audience, they opened up with numbers from The Blues Brothers dressed in the attire to match. They moved on to popular tunes from the sixties to date, the audience were rocking in their seats.
After an interval and with the audience fed and glasses refilled,the second half opened with what is probably the most unique comedy double act to appear on the variety circuit in a long time, Mid-Life 80’s. With the theme being a decade, through comedy and song, coupled with appearances from E.T, Rocky Bilbao, Crocodile Dundee and Pamela Anderson among others, Paul Traynor and Wayne Kincade served up a nostalgic and highly amusing rendition of what kept us all entertained in the 80’s.
There was a break for the auction and the raffle, in which time I left the back of the venue, got changed and walked on to the impressively large well-lit stage. I cannot write my own review but I will quote the well-known saying “A comedian is as good as his audience” And the audience were marvellous!
Much needed funds were raised for a well deserving cause. Long live variety!