The Viva Cabaret Theatre in Blackpool was the venue the first Club and Institute Union Command Show, which has been reintroduced the replace the former Blackpool Command Shows. The Command show used to be staged for many years at The Horseshoe Bar at Blackpool Pleasure Beach and produced by Blackpool Clubman Alan Pilborough and a Yorkshire agent called Brian Cliff, who is now sadly no longer with us. Nowadays C&IU National Executive Committee member Nathan Clarke is the man pushing the re-establish this cabaret evening as part of the national showcase set-up. Our own editor Mark Ritchie, himself still an occasional entertainer, was on hand to act as Compere on the night. Mark writes:
I went along at the invitation of the Showcase Productions company to Compere the new show, staged at Viva Blackpool. It is 23 years since I last acted as Compere for a Blackpool Command show and things have changed a fair bit. Lisa Byrom did a great job backstage, along with stage manager Nicky Lucas and I certainly enjoyed myself out front.
Appearing on the night were acoustic guitarist/ singer Rebecca Wilson, singer Kristie Charles and top bands Pickettywitch’d and The Rockin’ 60’s.
Following up from all of that, I introduced singer Natalie Louise and Robbie Williams Tribute Really Robbie, before Dolly Parton tribute Cheri Pearce gave us a segment of her Here Comes Dolly show. Completing the first half were appearances from French heartthrob singer Louis Devere and singers Sophia Leonard and tribute artistes Will Rawlings and Destiny Michelle.
The second half begin with an appearance from fun two-boy duo Timeless, followed by singers Rachel Lee and Katie Blackwell. Kelvin J Wood was fortunately ready to go next, as singer Karen Harvey had gone walkabout and no-one could find her. Ms Harvey was eventually located and was soon out on stage.
Boy George tribute artiste Liam Halewood began his set, as the show wound into the home straight with singer Samantha Atkinson and Vince Hughes with his three-boy Showaddywaddy tribute.
Closing out this successful evening were singers Nicky Jones and Clare Brook. Everyone seemed delighted that the event had attracted such a large and enthusiastic audience of club people. Although the club sector has decreased hugely in volume since its heydays, UK social clubs still provide much valuable work for professional entertainers and entertainment agents who operate in that area.
This is a not a review of the showcase as such. It is more a feature in the form of a news item, which are pleased to include here. Hopefully this event will become an annual fixture within the UK light entertainment calendar.