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.
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.
- Hedren brings a touch of Hollywood to Fairfield Halls (insidecroydon.com)
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- Not much rhyme to Coleridge-Taylor’s lost opera (insidecroydon.com)