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It is not uncommon for a magician to ask his assistant to wear a blindfold, but quite unusual when the assistant is a duck. John Styles performs a series of magic tricks in his act in Vincent’s Christmas Wonderland, all effortlessly, a testimony to the wealth of experience that has led him to be honoured as a member of the Magic Inner Circle and President of the International Brotherhood of Magicians – British Ring.
John Styles is the leading authority and performer of Punch and Judy in this country, learning the skill as a boy. He has been honoured with an MBE from the Queen for his services to the arts, “especially Punch and Judy”. Obviously used to Mr Punch’s mischief, John takes no chances with the duck, insisting he wears the blindfold to help him with the card trick “So he can’t cheat”.
Saturday, alas, was the time to say not so much “goodbye” as “au revoir” to Oliver Savidge.
Ollie has been designing the light and sound for the shows at Brick Lane Music Hall for many years, as well as stage managing and many other vital backstage roles. Over the years he has introduced many technical improvements and new ideas to the shows, played a key role in our schools programmes, and has generously given the theatre the benefit of his cheerful disposition, indomitable good sense and team spirit, so much so that in 2010 he was nominated as “Employee of the Year” in the national Theatre Mangement Awards.
Having been with the Music Hall since leaving school, he is taking time out to travel the world and we wish him all the best and hope he has an amazing and exciting time.
Vincent made an emotional announcement on stage at the end of the show on Saturday and Ollie joined the cast of Vincent’s Christmas Wonderland for the grand finale. Keep in touch, Ollie. And come back soon!
As we begin our countdown to Christmas, we bid “bon voyage” to Andrew Robley, whose place in Vincent’s Christmas Wonderland will be taken by William Byrne for the December shows.
Andrew has appeared in many of our shows this year, including the new St George’s Day and Sixties shows, Vincent’s Variety Showcase and Divas. Andrew is off to perform in concert around Europe, before heading off with Fred Olsen to Barbados for Christmas and the New Year. He will be joining us again for our 2014 pantomime, Big Dick Whittington… where he will take the role of Dick’s cat!
For Vincent’s Christmas Wonderland we are joined by Anna Campkin, who last appeared at Brick Lane Music Hall in There’ll Always Be An England in 2010, having been in many of our productions, including Give My Regards to Broadway and Sunday Night At the London Palladium, and Alan McHale, who made his Brick Lane Music Hall debut last Christmas and went on to appear in the St Patrick’s Irish Party.
Anna has been busy touring with the hit musical, Dreamboats and Petticoats, playing Donna. If that wasn’t enough, she has also worked as a voice-over artist, including narrating The Seven Stones, a new Harry Potter-style audio-book, where she also had to be the voice of over twenty characters. Quite a challenge, Anna said “It was great fun and got me really working on my accents, everything from Cockney to Cornish, to Lancashire and Liverpudlian!”
Alan, in the meantime, has been performing in a Shakespearean musical – The Boys from Syracuse. A musical version of A Comedy of Errors, The Boys from Syracuse was written in 1938 by Rodgers and Hart “because a musical had never been based on a Shakespeare play before”. Alan donned a toga to play Dromio, one of the twins in this well-received production at the Union Theatre, London.
Pictured, Anna and Alan on stage with Andrew Robley. Vincent’s Christmas Wonderland continues until December 21st.
Vincent’s Christmas Wonderland has been largely sold out since before the summer break, but those who were not able to reserve seats may be interested to hear that we have had some seats returned for December. Please phone the Box Office for details.
Staff and artists worked round the clock to ensure that when customers arrived at the Music Hall for the first Christmas show, they stepped into a wintry wonderland with everything ready for their seasonal celebration, and a sensational show.
On November 11th the team were ready to get to work, with just two days to rehearse for the new Christmas show, Vincent’s Christmas Wonderland and at the same time transform the theatre into a snowy wonderland…..
Vincent’s Christmas Wonderland opens on Wednesday, November 13th. Vincent Hayes MBE, is joined by Paul James, Joni Talks, Anna Campkin and Alan McHale, with guest artist Andrew Robley for November and William Byrne throughout December.
Members of Brick Lane Music Hall’s staff gave their time to attend this year’s Remembrance Sunday Service, held in the grounds of the Music Hall. Members of the Silvertown British Legion, police and local servicement marched from Albert Road for the service. Also in attendance were many locals, customers and representatives of the local Council, including Deputy Mayor, Cllr Lester Hudson. The service was led by Rt Reverend Monseigneur John Armitage and included readings by local residents and Brick Lane Music Hall’s own Lucy Hayes, as well as a few words from Vincent Hayes MBE, who thanked Mgr John for using his influence to ensure we were blessed with another beautiful sunny day.
At Brick Lane Music Hall planning for Christmas has to begin during the summer, with our team working on ideas over several months, making preparations so that they are ready to spring into action with a new show following the end of the Wartime show and the Remembrance Sunday Service held in the grounds of the Music Hall on November 10th.
Pictured, the team get ready to put on the new show, with planning meetings, backstage rehearsals and musical run-throughs, set design and build, staging and lighting, choreography and costume design.