Danny La Rue

Danny La Rue, OBE (born Daniel Patrick Carroll, 26 July 1927 – 31 May 2009) was an Irish-English singer and entertainer, particularly in stage theatre known for his singing and cross-dressing performances.

Danny La Rue

Danny La Rue 1975
La Rue in his dressing room at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London early in 1975
Born
Daniel Patrick Carroll

26 July 1927
Cork, Ireland
Died31 May 2009 (aged 81)
ResidenceLondon, United Kingdom
OccupationSinger, entertainer
Years active1944–2006

Early life

Born as Daniel Patrick Carroll in Cork City,[1] Ireland, in 1927, La Rue was the youngest of either four or five siblings. The family moved to England when he was six and he was brought up at Earnshaw Street in Soho, central London. When the family home was destroyed during the Blitz, his mother, a seamstress, moved her children to Kennford, a Devon village where young Daniel developed an interest in dramatics. “There weren't enough girls so I got the pick of the roles ... My Juliet was very convincing,” La Rue recalled.[2]

He served in the Royal Navy as a young man following in his father's footsteps, and even had a brief career delivering groceries, but he became known for his skill as a female impersonator (or "comic in a frock" as he preferred to be called) in the United Kingdom and was featured in theatre productions, and in film, television and records.

Career

Among his celebrity impersonations were Elizabeth Taylor, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Judy Garland, Margot Fonteyn, Marlene Dietrich and Margaret Thatcher. At one point he had his own nightclub in Hanover Square, and also performed on London's West End. In the 1960s he was among Britain's highest-paid entertainers. In the 1970s, he owned the Swan, a noted inn at Streatley on the River Thames.

In 1982 he played Dolly Levi in the musical Hello, Dolly!. He also has the distinction of being the only man to take over a woman's role in the West End theatre when he replaced Avis Bunnage in Oh, What a Lovely War![2] and he was until his death still a regular performer in traditional Christmas pantomime shows in Britain.

In 1968 his version of "On Mother Kelly's Doorstep" reached number 33 in the UK singles chart; La Rue later adopted the song as his theme tune.[3]

He had a starring role in the film Our Miss Fred in 1972, and also appeared in Every Day's a Holiday, The Frankie Howerd Show, Twiggs, Decidedly Dusty, Entertainment Express, Blackpool Bonanza and the BBC's Play of the Month in a production of Charley's Aunt (1969). He made a guest appearance as himself in the Mr. Bean episode "Mr. Bean in Room 426" in 1993.

La Rue's final major public appearance was in Hello Danny, a biographical show performed at the "Benidorm Palace", which opened on 11 November 2007. The part of the young La Rue was played by Jerry Lane, who also co-created and directed. La Rue appeared at the start of the show and then in an interview on stage in part of the second half. He also performed a number of songs.

Illness and death

La Rue suffered a mild stroke in January 2006 whilst in Spain on holiday: as a result, his final pantomime and all subsequent performances were cancelled. He had been suffering from prostate cancer for many years, a fact not publicised to his fans. He had several further strokes and developed throat cancer.

He died in his home shortly before midnight on 31 May 2009 at the age of 81.[4][5] His companion, Annie Galbraith, was with him at her home in Tunbridge Wells when he died. La Rue was laid to rest with his partner, Jack Hanson, in St Mary's Cemetery, Kensal Green, west London.[6]

Personal life

La Rue would often perform parts of his show in men's clothes, and was often seen out of costume on television. In later life, he was more candid about his private life, including his homosexuality. La Rue lived for many years with his manager and life partner of 40 years, Jack Hanson, until Hanson's death in 1984.[7][8]

In the 1970s La Rue spent more than £1 million on the purchase and restoration of a country house hotel, Walton Hall, in Warwickshire, and sold it in 1983 to a pair of Canadian con men. La Rue had given control of the hotel to the two Canadians with a promise of further investment with the retention of La Rue's name on the hotel itself. This eventually led to a police investigation where La Rue was cleared of any suspicion but discovered he had lost more than £1 million.[8]

Accolades

He was appointed OBE in the 2002 Queen's Birthday Honours List. La Rue later stated in an interview that this was "the proudest day of his life".[9] Other accolades included Royal Variety Performance appearances in 1969, 1972 and 1978, Variety Club of Great Britain Showbiz Personality of the Year (1969), Theatre Personality of the Year (1970), Entertainer of the Decade (1979) and the Brinsworth Award from the EABF for his outstanding contribution to the entertainment profession and the community.[10] In 1987 he was King Rat of the showbusiness charity the Grand Order of Water Rats.

La Rue was the subject of a specially extended edition of This Is Your Life in 1984 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at the curtain call of Hello, Dolly! at London’s Prince of Wales Theatre.

He has also been described as "the grande dame of drag".[11]

Selected filmography

Bibliography

  • La Rue, Danny (1987) From Drags to Riches: my autobiography, Harmondsworth: Viking, ISBN 0-670-81557-8
  • Underwood, Peter (1974) Life's a drag : Danny la Rue & the drag scene, London: Frewin, ISBN 0-85632-081-1
  • Baker, Roger (1968) Drag: A History of female impersonation on the stage, Triton: ISBN 0-363-00014-3

References

  1. ^ Irish Times obituary
  2. ^ a b Daily Telegraph obituary
  3. ^ Rice, Tim; Jo Rice; Paul Gambaccini (1995). British Hit Singles (10th ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 181. ISBN 0-85112-633-2.
  4. ^ Gibbons, Duncan (2 June 2009). "Coventry Theatre favourite Danny La Rue dies, 81". Coventry Telegraph.
  5. ^ Singh, Anita (2 June 2009). "Danny La Rue dies aged 81". The Daily Telegraph.
  6. ^ "Stage legend La Rue dies at 81". BBC News. 1 June 2009.
  7. ^ "Biography". Dannylarue.com. Retrieved 2012-04-14.
  8. ^ a b Daily Telegraph obituary, 1 June 2009
  9. ^ "QUEEN'S BIRTHDAY HONOURS LIST: The first dame; DANNY LA RUE OBE.(News)". Highbeam.com. Archived from the original on 2012-10-25. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  10. ^ Lasting Tribute website Archived 27 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Simpson, Neil (2008). Paul O'Grady: The Biography. London: John Blake Publishing. p. 106. ISBN 978-1-84454-417-2.

External links

Amanda Noar

Amanda Noar (born 1962) is an English actress, director and choreographer and is the former wife of actor Neil Morrissey.Born in Prestwich, Lancashire Noar attended the Arts Educational School from the age of 12. Aged 16 she started her professional career in the Danny La Rue Show. She was later cast as Anita in the West End production of West Side Story. Her first television role was as Helen Carson in the ATV schools series Starting Out (1982), written by Grazyna Monvid. Her other TV work includes Julie Clay in Coronation Street (1983), Sally in Boon (1987), Natasha Glendenning in Lovejoy (1992), Norma in Stay Lucky (1993), Melanie Norriss in Casualty (1994), Rose Finnigan in Brookside (1999) and Letitia in Hollyoaks.Stage roles include Anita in West Side Story at Her Majesty's Theatre in London and on national tour, Fields of Ambrosia at the Aldwych Theatre, London, and Chava in Fiddler on the Roof with Topol. In addition, Noar played Gypsy in Gypsy at The Grand Theatre, Swansea, and Hunyak in Chicago at The Haymarket Theatre in Leicester. She performed in Godspell on national tour, as well as roles in Sweet Charity and Cabaret. Her film work includes playing "Jess" in Return of the Jedi (1983), The Zero Option (1988), I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle (1990), and The Frontline (1993).Noar is of Jewish parentage and was married to actor Neil Morrissey from 1987 to 1991 and with him she had a son, Sam Morrissey, born in 1989. She has two other children from a subsequent marriage. Noar is also the producer/director of the North London musical theatre company "Impact" which has put on many shows including Fiddler on the Roof, Oliver! and The Producers. The proceeds of these shows go to various charities.

Noar won The Sylvia Anderson Award for Creativity for her direction on "The Clay Kickers Chorus" in 2018.

Andy Eastwood

Andy Eastwood (born 1980 in Blackburn, Lancashire) is a vaudeville entertainer and ukulele player.His interest in the ukulele and banjolele began when his grandfather gave him his first instrument as a child, and after reading music at the University of Oxford, where he also studied violin and piano, he graduated as the historic university's first musician ever to give a degree recital on the ukulele.After cutting his teeth as a cabaret performer, Eastwood broke into theatre and developed a reputation as a multi-instrumental variety act, combining his instrumental and vocal prowess with comic delivery, notably reminiscent of British film comedian George Formby, to whom (amongst others) Eastwood pays tribute in his act.

Recent years have seen him touring as an opening act and supporting act for Ken Dodd, Danny La Rue, Ronnie Ronalde and also starring in a wartime revue called We'll Meet Again.Eastwood's first CD album in 1999, was Ukulele Serenade; it featured the comic songs of George Formby and various ukulele arrangements of well known standards, in keeping with his ambition to promote the ukulele to wider popularity than it had enjoyed in his youth. The album was championed by BBC Radio 2 presenter Desmond Carrington.

Subsequent releases have included Ukulele Mania (2004), We'll Meet Again (2005), Bring Me Sunshine (2007), and Ukulele Mania Bonus Edition (2009). In addition to the ukulele and banjolele, he plays violin, guitar, banjo, piano, keyboards, drums, bass, washboard, and of course, vocals, on his recordings.In 2008 Eastwood began presenting a music programme called Andy's Attic on the internet radio station Retro Jukebox, and in 2010 he released his first DVD, We'll Meet Again.Eastwood's TV appearances include Barrymore, Blue Peter, GMTV, Today with Des and Mel, and he also taught comedian Frank Skinner to play the ukulele for the 2006 BBC One show Play It Again. Skinner became so interested in the instrument that as a result he went on to make a George Formby documentary for BBC Four, in which Eastwood also appeared. A further Skinner documentary What A Performance in 2015 also featured Eastwood discussing George Formby and playing one of Formby's original instruments, which he now owns.

Eastwood continued his quest to demonstrate the ukulele's worth as a 'serious' instrument in 2015 with the release of Three Classics for Ukulele, a suite of classical pieces arranged as challenging instrumental solos.In 2016 he was voted into the showbusiness charity organisation The Grand Order of Water Rats.

Avis Bunnage

Avis Bunnage (22 April 1923, Ardwick, Manchester, Lancashire – 4 October 1990, Thorpe Bay, Southend-on-Sea, Essex) was an English actress of film, stage and television.She attended Manley Park Municipal School and Chorlton Central School in Manchester. She worked as a secretary and a nursery teacher before deciding to become an actress. She gained stage experience in rep and made her first professional appearance at Chorlton Rep Theatre in Manchester in 1947. She appeared as Veronica, the wife of Rigsby, in Rising Damp, for one episode, and as Amy Jenkinson, Ivy Unsworth's friend, in 11 episodes of In Loving Memory. Bunnage was a member of Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop company at the Theatre Royal Stratford East. There she created the role of Helen, the mother in A Taste of Honey, her first West End role when the play transferred to Wyndham's Theatre, and also a role in Oh, What a Lovely War! at Stratford East, which also transferred to Wyndham's Theatre. When Avis was on holiday from this production for two weeks, her role was taken over by Danny La Rue. Among her other roles for Theatre Workshop were Mrs. Lovitt in Christopher Bond's play Sweeney Todd (the basis for the Sondheim musical), and the title role in a play about the music hall legend Marie Lloyd. In the early years of Coronation Street she played Lucile Hewitt's auntie. She was in the musical Billy at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, playing the mother of 'Billy Liar'. She played Golda in Fiddler on the Roof, opposite Alfie Bass, at Her Majesty's Theatre in London.Among her various film roles were several British New Wave productions, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.Married to Derek Orchard, she died on 4 October 1990 in Thorpe Bay, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, aged 67.

Beck Theatre

The Beck Theatre is a 600-seat theatre in Hayes, in the London Borough of Hillingdon. It was built in 1977 at a cost of £2.5 million.

Catholic Association of Performing Arts (UK)

The British Catholic Stage Guild, the main organisation for Roman Catholics in British entertainment, was founded in 1911. The aim of the Guild, as laid out in the 1931 Year Book, was "to establish and encourage spiritual, artistic and social intercourse among [Roman] Catholics connected with the theatrical and allied professions". The Guild is now known as the Catholic Association of Performing Arts (CaAPA).

Its current details include:

Address: Corpus Christi Church, #1 Maiden Lane, London, UK, WC2E 7NB

Telephone: 020 7240 1221

Registered charity number: 267957

Chair: Frank Comerford

CaAPA National Chaplain: Fr Chris Vipers

CaAPA Chairman of Trustees: Monsignor Vladimir FelzmannCurrent membership includes such noted performers as Valerie Masterson and Simon Callow, as well as numerous less well-known performers, such as actor Martin O'Brien, who co-founded ACTS (Association of Catholics in Theatre and on Screen) in 2005, and is the current Artistic Director of the CaAPA-affiliated Ten Ten Theatre.

Deceased former members of the Guild include actors Sir Alec Guinness (a former Vice-President of the Guild), Patricia Hayes (who was a former Chair of the Guild, as was her son, actor Richard O'Callaghan), Danny La Rue, Michael Williams (a former Chair), Margaretta Scott, Moira Lister, Eamonn Andrews (a former Chair), Lionel Jeffries (a former Chair) and Frank Finlay. Guinness and Jeffries were both converts. Member Vince Powell was a noted television writer and producer. Last of the Summer Wine star Joe Gladwin was Northern representative before his death.

Daniel Carroll (disambiguation)

Daniel Carroll (1730-1796) was an American politician and plantation owner from Maryland.

Daniel Carroll may also refer to:

Daniel Carroll (rugby union) (1892–1956), Australian-American rugby union footballer

Daniel J. Carroll (1874–1927), New York politician

Daniel Lynn Carroll (1797–1851), President of Hampden–Sydney College

Daniel Patrick Carroll, better known as Danny La Rue (1927–2009), British entertainer

Danny Carroll (politician) (born 1953), American politician in the state of Iowa

Danny the Street

Danny the Street is a fictional character in the DC Universe; a living, sentient piece of urban geography who can magically and seamlessly place himself in any urban landscape at will without any disruption to the surrounding environment and freely interact with any other sapient being through various forms of visual printing he can generate at will in his proximity.

He was created by Grant Morrison and Richard Case and first appeared in Doom Patrol #35 (August 1990). His name is a pun on female impersonator Danny La Rue, as "La Rue" is French for "The Street".

Goring and Streatley Bridge

Goring and Streatley Bridge is a road bridge across the River Thames in England. The bridge links the twin villages of Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, and Streatley, Berkshire, and is adjacent to Goring Lock.

The present bridge was built in 1923, and is in two parts: The western bridge is from Streatley to an island in the river (overlooking The Swan hotel, once owned by Danny La Rue); The eastern bridge is from the island to Goring and overlooks Goring Lock. The bridge consists of timber struts supporting a metal roadway.

Both the Thames Path and The Ridgeway cross the Thames on this bridge.

A bridge was first built here in 1837 being a flat timber bridge of beams on posts. Prior to this there was a ferry although occasionally people would ride across, even driving in a one-horse chaise. In 1674 the ferry turned over in the weir pool with the loss of sixty lives. In the 1970s a Citroën Dyane crashed through the railings at the Streatley end of the bridge landing on a concrete weir 16 feet below. The local Citroën dealer used the photo to illustrate the inherent strength of their upmarket 2CV

Jennifer Croxton

Jennifer Croxton is a British actress, born 1944 in Cambridge.

She starred as Lady Diana Forbes-Blakeney opposite Patrick Macnee in The Avengers in the 1969 episode "Killer", and appeared in the film Our Miss Fred (1972), opposite Danny La Rue. Her other television credits included roles in It's Awfully Bad For Your Eyes, Darling, Anne of Avonlea, and The Lady and the Highwayman.

Kennford

Kennford is a village situated in the Teignbridge district of Devon, England. Kennford is four miles (6 km) to the south of Exeter in the civil parish of Kenn; it is situated in one of the country's main tourist areas.

The village became prominent in the 1970s as the location of a new service station on the A38 Devon Expressway between Exeter and Plymouth, near the southern terminus of the then new M5 motorway. This service area is a popular stopping place for tourists on their way to South Devon and Cornwall.

Close to the village is a caravan and camping park.

The entertainer, Danny la Rue, was largely brought up in Kennford (from the age of 6).

List of British bingo nicknames

This is a list of British bingo nicknames. In the game of bingo in the United Kingdom, callers announcing the numbers have traditionally used some nicknames to refer to particular numbers if they are drawn. The nicknames are sometimes known by the rhyming phrase 'bingo lingo' and there are rhymes for each number from 1 to 90, some of which date back many decades. In some clubs, the 'bingo caller' will say the number, with the assembled players intoning the rhyme in a call and response manner, in others, the caller will say the rhyme and the players chant the number. In 2003, Butlins holiday camps introduced some more modern calls devised by a Professor of Popular Culture in an attempt to bring fresh interest to bingo.

Martin Ballard

Martin Ballard (born in Derby) is an English radio presenter for the BBC in the East Midlands with more than thirty years of broadcasting experience. He is also a writer, an actor with three decades of theatre work, and voice-over artist. He can be seen in professional pantomime every Christmas and heard on BBC Radio Leicester 104.9FM and as the matchday announcer at the Leicester Tigers in England's Rugby Union Premiership.

New Theatre Oxford

New Theatre Oxford (formerly the Apollo Theatre Oxford and The Apollo, from 1977–2003) is the main commercial theatre in Oxford, England. It has a capacity of 1,785 people; is on George Street, in the centre of the city; and puts on a wide variety of shows, including musical theatre, stand-up comedy, and concerts.

The first "New Theatre" on this site opened in 1836 and presented music hall entertainment. This was replaced in 1886 by new premises, which were the home of Oxford University Dramatic Society. The theatre was damaged by fire in 1892 and enlarged in 1908, from which time it was continuously under the management of the Dorrill family until 1972.

The present building dates from 1933 and was designed by Milburn Brothers with an art deco interior by T.P. Bennet and Sons. The colour scheme was originally in shades of deep brown with gilt friezes but in later years (circa 1980?) a multi-colour scheme was introduced, which did not reflect the original design.

There has been a theatre on the corner of George Street for almost 170 years. The first theatre built in 1836 was known commonly as the 'Vic', and later as the 'Theatre Royale' after the company that played there. Forbidden to perform plays during the University terms, the lessee of the theatre resorted to presenting 'concerts' or music hall entertainments and by 1880 the theatre had become quite run down.

At the instigation of members of both town and gown a company was formed to raise money for a theatre to be used by University and town players as well as by professionals. In February 1886 the Oxford University Dramatic Society opened the second New Theatre with 'Twelfth Night'. Designed by H.G.W. Drinkwater and with a 1000-seat capacity the second New Theatre was damaged by fire in 1892 and altered in 1908, when the seating capacity was increased to 1200.

Charles Dorrill started work in the box office when the first New Theatre opened in 1886. He became assistant manager and then, in 1908, became manager when the Dorrill family took over the venue. The Dorrills ran the theatre as a family business for the next sixty-four years. Charles Dorrill died suddenly in 1912 and his son, Stanley, who was working at Blackwells, the Oxford booksellers, was asked to take over at the age of 18. During his 47 years at the helm, he masterminded the rebuilding of the theatre as we know it today. In 1933, Stanley Dorrill was determined to build 'the most luxurious and comfortable house of entertainment in England' and commissioned a new building from the well known theatre architects William and T.R. Milburn of Sunderland. The Milburns co-operated on the art-deco interior with T.P Bennett and Sons (who had designed the Saville Theatre in London). The Milburns' extensive theatre oeuvre included the Sunderland Empire and London's Dominion Theatre.

The third New Theatre was re-opened in February 1934 with a formal speech by a Miss Tawney, and with a wonderful revolving stage (mechanism extant) and increased capacity of 2000 (1710 seated) it attracted all the great dramatic actors, popular and operatic singers and musicians, music-hall entertainers and matinee idols of the age. During the Second World War, half a million troops enjoyed free entertainment at the New Theatre, earning Stanley Dorrill an MBE. The theatre published a weekly eight-page programme advertising all the many different acts, which was typeset at the local Alden's Press.

The New Theatre's renowned annual pantomimes (incorporating Vera Legge's Dancers) attracted many star names, and became an Oxford family Christmas ritual. In 1963/4 Yana (real name: Pamella Guard) starred in Cinderella together with Des O'Connor as Buttons, Danny La Rue and Alan Hayes as The Ugly Sisters, and Erica Yorke as Prince Charming, as well as Jack Douglas, George Arnett and Wendy Cameron. The following year, 1964/5, Billy Fury starred as Aladdin, appearing with his band, The Gamblers, alongside Ray Fell and Laurie Lupino Lane. Freddie Garrity played Wishee Washee opposite Lulu as Aladdin in 1976, returning in the 1980s to play Jack in Jack and The Beanstalk with Anne Charleston, Alvin Stardust and Lynsey de Paul. Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits played in pantomime at the New Theatre in the early 1970s together with Peter Glaze as the Dame. 1978 saw Norman Collier take to the pantomime stage in George Street.

In 1955, Stanley Dorrill became managing director and his son, John Dorrill, took over the day-to-day management of the theatre, having served an apprenticeship in London's West End. John married Erica Yorke, who appeared as principal boy in many New Theatre Christmas pantomimes.

By the mid-1960s, with television growing in popularity, running large theatres was increasingly difficult and, with few good shows on offer, the New began to struggle. John Dorrill took over as managing director from his father in 1965 and planned to redevelop the site as shops and offices with two smaller theatres, but Oxford City Council rejected the idea.

In latter days musicals and play productions were supplemented by pop and rock concerts. Finally, in 1972, the Howard and Wyndham's provincial theatre chain group took over, bringing the Dorrill family's era of ownership to an end.

In 1977 Apollo Leisure took over the lease of the theatre and renamed it The Apollo. Apollo Leisure was bought out by SFX in 1999, followed by Clear Channel Entertainment in 2001. After a refurbishment in 2003 the theatre reverted to its original name of the New Theatre, with Clear Channel Entertainment's theatre division becoming Live Nation two years later. The Ambassador Theatre Group bought the theatre in 2009.

Old Mother Riley

Old Mother Riley was a British music hall act which originally ran from about 1934 to 1954 played by Arthur Lucan, and from 1954 to the 1980s played by Roy Rolland.Old Mother Riley (full comedy name: Daphne Bluebell Snowdrop Riley) was an Irish washerwoman and charwoman character, devised by Lucan (born Arthur Towle). His wife Kitty McShane played Old Mother Riley's daughter, Kitty. It was essentially a drag act but also a double act. The couple played music halls, theatres, and broadcast on radio and appeared in films. Lucan was voted sixth biggest British box-office star by the Motion Picture Herald in 1943. They also gave Jimmy Clitheroe his break in 1939 in an Old Mother Riley pantomime called The Old Woman who Lives in a Shoe, and then the following year a part in their film, Old Mother Riley in Society. The Film Fun comic included an “Old Mother Riley” strip cartoon in the 1940s.

Old Mother Riley was the first and arguably the most influential drag act on stage and screen. Although nothing like the glamorous acts like Danny La Rue, Old Mother Riley proved that drag could be a smash hit with audiences and make you a star. The Old Mother Riley films also proved that drag could be an acceptable part of comedy and storytelling. Previous to Old Mother Riley, drag was a mixture of singing acts and short comedy sketches in music halls across the UK.

Roy Rolland was Lucan's understudy and stand-in, and after Lucan's death in 1954 he continued to play the Old Mother Riley character in pantomime, on television and in cabaret until the 1980s.The character and show exist in a comic lineage that extends to Mrs. Brown's Boys.

Our Miss Fred

Our Miss Fred is a 1972 British comedy film starring Danny La Rue and set during World War II. The film was also known by its video release titles Beyond the Call of Duty (Canada) and Operation: Fred (US). In the 1960s, La Rue was one of the highest paid entertainers in Britain, but this represents his only starring role in a feature film.

Pantomime dame

A pantomime dame is a traditional role in British pantomime. It is a continuation of travesti portrayal of female characters by male actors in drag. They are often played either in an extremely camp style, or else by men acting 'butch' in women's clothing. They wear big make up and big hair, have exaggerated physical features, and perform in a melodramatic style.

Roy Rolland

Roy Rolland (29 June 1921–16 August 1997) was an English comedian and stage actor who was the understudy for Arthur Lucan as Old Mother Riley and who took over the role following the death of Lucan in 1954, playing it until about 1977.

The Night Out Theatre Restaurant

The Night Out Theatre Restaurant in Horsefair, Birmingham was one of the country's premier cabaret venues throughout the 1970s and early 1980s.

The venue was custom built, with interior design by Todd Kingman. A 1400-seat auditorium, with all seats dining, was similar in style to the 'Moulin Rouge' but more glitzy.

The kitchen served an average of 1000 meals per night, six nights a week, and was split into two in later years, with 'Kitchen 2' dealing exclusively with the a-la-carte part of the extensive menu.

The venue was owned and operated by Trust House Forte (THF), Forte Group later 'Entam Leisure' (part of the Forte Group), then 'First Leisure', which also controlled London's 'Talk of the Town' Talk of the Town (nightclub) and 'The Golden Garter' in Manchester.

The Night Out first opened in April 1975 with a house band under Eddie Gray with lead singer Patti Sommers. The very first headline act to appear was 'Dana' Dana_Rosemary_Scallon

The original resident group was Moonlight, followed by Misty Morning, and then Delta Dawn.

The First General Manager was Clive Preston, later succeeded by Paul Lillicrap.

In the late 1970s Eddie Gray and Patti Sommers left The Night Out and the venue's musical directorship came under the late Roger Rae. Successive Stage Directors were Dave Goddard, Tony Jover, Cliff Dix and finally Martin Tasker.

The first compere was Scott Paul Young, who was followed by Ricki Disoni, and Frank Patterson.

The venue featured a huge range of major star artists during its existence, had royalty (Princess Anne) 'the Princess Royal' in its audience on one occasion, was the host venue for the 1981 Eurovision broadcast of 'Miss Europe' Miss Europe [1] and provided a nightly 'five hours non-stop show'.

The nightly 'House Show' which preceded the top of the bill act was staged and choreographed by Jean Clarke and produced by David Wiseman but was eventually scrapped in a cost cutting exercise that finally led to the venue becoming a disco (The Dome).

Notable performers included:-

The Drifters, Cannon and Ball, Madeline Bell, The Dooleys, The Krankies, Roy Orbison, Charles Aznavour, Freddie Starr, Tom O'Connor, Lulu (singer), The Hollies, The Brother Lees, Tony Christie, Jack Jones, Wall Street Crash, David Essex, The New Vaudeville Band, Sacha Distel, The Grumbleweeds, Johnny Dankworth and Cleo Laine, The Nolans, Harry Secombe, Labbi Siffre, Gene Pitney, Odyssey, Marti Caine, Jim Davidson, Little and Large, The Stylistics, The Barron Knights, Brotherhood of Man, Showaddywaddy, Hot Gossip, The Three Degrees, Darts, Danny La Rue, Rolf Harris, Des O'Connor, Keith Chegwin, Mike Yarwood, Grace Kennedy, Bob Monkhouse, Jimmy Tarbuck, Kenny Lynch, Bucks Fizz, Cilla Black, Michael Bentine, Martin St James, Roger De Courcey, The Osmond Brothers and many other leading acts of the seventies and early eighties.

Tim Goodchild

Tim Goodchild is an award-winning international set and costume designer from Great Britain.

A three-time Laurence Olivier Award winner, he has designed for stage, television, and film. He has designed over 75 productions for London's West End theatre, and over 80 productions internationally. In 1988, he made theatre history by designing the first Anglo-Soviet production of a ballet: Swan Lake (Moscow Classical Ballet, London, the United States, Japan and Moscow). He also designed the ballet A Simple Man for BBC2, which won the 1987 BAFTA Award. Also for BBC2, he designed the musical The Look of Love, directed by Dame Gillian Lynne, and was costume designer for the film The Little Prince. He has designed productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the New Shakespeare Company, Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, English National Opera, Sydney Opera House, New York City Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Théatre du Chátelet in Paris, amongst others.

Most recent productions include: 2013 production of Strangers on a Train at the Gielgud Theatre (Laurence Olivier and WhatsOnStage Awards nominations for Best Production Design), The Talking Cure, written and direct by Christopher Hampton (Josefstadt, Vienna), Elf: The Musical (UK Tour), and part of the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.

West End Theatre includes: Richard II starring Ian McKellen (Piccadilly Theatre), Henry IV starring Richard Harris (Wyndham's), Our Song starring Peter O'Toole (Apollo Theatre), Bus Stop starring Jerry Hall and Sean Cassidy (Lyric), Chapter Two starring Tom Conti and Sharon Gless (Gielgud), Someone Like You, Brief Lives, Killing Jessica, and Hadrian the Seventh (Haymarket & Broadway.

For Cameron McMacintosh, he designed the original productions of Five Guys Named Moe (Broadway & Australia), Cafe Puccini, Blondel, and Hey, Mr. Producer!, as well as revivals of Oklahoma! (Palace Theatre London & Australia), My Fair Lady (Adelphi), The Card (Regent's Park Theatre & UK tour), and Little Shop of Horrors (Comedy Theatre).

For the Royal Shakespeare Company, he has designed The Taming of the Shrew, The Relapse, Xenobia, Three Hours After Marriage, and The Merry Wives of Windsor.

For Chichester Festival Theatre, he has designed Love for Love starring Derek Jacobi, Blithe Spirit starring Maureen Lipman and Dora Bryan, The School for Scandal, R Loves J by Peter Ustinov, and Robert and Elizabeth.

International productions include Antony & Cleopatra (Egyptian National Theatre, Cairo), Peter Pan (McNab Theatre, Canada), Cyrano de Bergerac (Stratford Ontario Festival Theatre, Canada), and Gigi (Volksoper, Vienna).

Opera productions include work with Chicago Lyric Opera, New York City Opera, Los Angeles Opera, English National Opera, Théâtre du Châtelet, London Coliseum, Mariinsky Opera (St. Petersburg), Sydney Opera House, Egyptian Opera (Cairo), and Houston Grand Opera.

Other productions include H.M.S. Pinafore (Broadway), Taboo (musical) starring Boy George and Matt Lucas (London and Broadway), Moon Over Buffalo starring Joan Collins and Frank Langella, We Will Rock You (13-year West End run, Australia, Spain, Las Vegas, Germany, Russia, Toronto, Italy, US and UK tour), Wonderful Town starring Maureen Lipman, Hello, Dolly! starring Danny La Rue (Prince of Wales), Gone with the Wind (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane), Pump Boys and Dinettes starring Kiki Dee, The Two Ronnies and Hans Anderson starring Tommy Steele (London Palladium), Collette starring Cleo Laine, Phil the Fluter, Salad Days, Thomas and the King, Troubadour, Sing a Rude Song starring Barbara Windsor (Garrick), Noël Coward’s Cowardy Custard, Catherine Johnson’s play Suspension, and Noël Coward’s Star Quality starring Penelope Keith.

Awards: Goodchild received a Laurence Olivier Award for his work on the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of The Relapse and in 1998 another two Olivier Awards for Best Set and Costume Design for the RSC's production of Three Hours After Marriage. For Strangers on a Train, he received Olivier Awards and WhatsOnStage Awards nomination for Best Production Design. He has received the Green Award for Best Opera Design for The Tales of Hoffmann (Australia), and was nominated for the LA Ovation Award for Best Design (Five Guys Named Moe) and a Sammy Award for Best Film Design (Fool on the Hill).

Current projects include the West End premiere of Elf: The Musical, and a spectacular new version of The Nutcracker for Houston Ballet Company in 2015-2016.

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