Vintage Essex boy’s performance that was living in the 70s

BELLA BARTOCK squeezed herself into her skinny jeans and leather jacket for an evening at the Fairfield Halls with an ageing rock star. Fortunately for the older members of the audience, All the Fun of the Fair was hardly a roller-coaster ride

My father says he saw David Essex in the original stage production of Evita back in the day, and so it was little surprise that All the Fun of the Fair at Fairfield Halls last week saw an audience comprise mainly of doting over-50s.

David Essex: nearly all the fun of the fair

With the Osmonds – sans Donny – playing next door and the dated Fairfields architecture, the whole thing all had a very 1970s feel, which the producers would not have minded, since the piece – a musical stitching together Essex’s greatest hits – also borrowed the fairground setting from the performer’s early days as the heart-throb star of the movie Stardust.

And so Essex went through his songbook, to the delight of his adoring audience. He sang “Oh What a Circus” from the Lloyd-Webber-Rice musical, a highlight in a mixture of up and down sets. Some good, some less so en route to a partly tragic end to the story.

But in all, it was the kind of show which was bearable only if chaperoning an older relative.

The staging benefited from a clever use of dodgems but lacked the Carousel and flying motif that has been involved in staging elsewhere – Essex has had this show on the road for at least two years, even during his time on the cast of EastEnders.

The story itself was also reminiscent of Blood Brothers but Essex did work hard to carry the show at the end of a long, punishing tour. Along with the energy of the young dancers this made the evening passable and, in the interests of the older fans in the audience, we all managed to away by soon after 10pm.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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5 Responses to Vintage Essex boy’s performance that was living in the 70s

  1. Val Palmer says:

    I have seen this show twice, and i would just like to point out that, the show is nothing more than BRILLIANT,The comments that were made about chaperoning and passable are totally not true,
    and also the 2 shows i have been to, Oh what a circus was never sung. Which brings to mind was you there?, or are you one of the elderly you mentioned, and fell asleep.and therefore had to make up your review, as it is far from the truth !!

  2. Angela Grist says:

    Well was this reporter at the correct show? I have seen this show twice and the latest was two weeks ago, it was an excellent show, It was full of first class music, There were old and young people watching both shows it appealed to a wide audience. As for the 10pm ending I for one was sorry the show ended and I would go to see the show time and time again.
    Now can we have a true report from another reported who watched the show.

  3. Think this is a rubbish review, and totally wrong. David does not sing ‘Oh what a Circus’ in his show, and never has. He didnt do the show while he was in Eastenders, but left it to do ATFOTF. There are a wide range of ages who go to this show, my daughter of 29 has been with me when it first started four years ago, and although she is not a fan of his she thoroughly enjoyed it. I am also taking my grandson who is six. David is a real gentleman, and he works hard and has had lots of loyal fans following him for many many years.
    This is an excellent show which has just got better as the years have gone on.

  4. Lesley Hows says:

    Were you actually at the show!!!! I have seen the show several times and at different locations and I can assure you that you did not hear David or anyone else sing “O What a Circus”. Obviously you are entitled to your opinion, but surely you owe it to the artist and the readers to get your facts right. Also at every show I have been too there is always a very mixed audience and my 14 year old daughter loved the show so much she wanted to go again.

  5. Diane Woods says:

    yet another review written by someone who doesn’t seem to have watched the show. i help run a fan site on facebook and some of our members went to croydon to see the show, so unless on this night there was an organised Saga trip in there i don’t see why the comment about the over 50’s was needed. on all the nights my members were there it was a mixed age audience.
    the show includes songs relevant to the story and great care was taken putting the right ones in there, Oh What A Circus is not and never has been included, did you fall asleep and dream that bit? i am not an obsessed fan and i have no problem with anyone saying they don’t like th show all i ask is when i read reviews that is that as well as the authors opinion i get some facts as well, i will own up her to saying that when i first saw the show in london with my husband i spent the first 20 minutes thinking i was going to leave dissapointed, at first it reminded me of the last school play i had been to see, however i gave it a chance and came out loving it, so much so i travelled down to London twice more to see it. on tour i have seen in in Bradford and i will also be seeing it again in April in Wolverhampton, its a shame you can’t revisit it and write a 2nd more accurate review, even a negative review that included the facts would be a fair one.

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