It's one of the country's longest running summer
shows - the Old Time Music Hall at Gorleston Pavilion - which opened
in May and runs through to mid-October.
When the Daily Mirror did a survey of seaside
resorts it summed up Great Yarmouth as being locked in the past
This, they suggested, was best illustrated by Cannon and Ball still
appearing at the Britannia Pier and the Old Time Music Hall being
performed at Gorleston Pavilion.
No-one would suggest that Old Time Music Hall
is cutting edge entertainment, yet it still pulls in the crowds
by the coachload.
Dancers dressed for Anything Goes!
It's unashamedly old fashioned, the audience is
- as you would expect - of more mature years and they're out to
enjoy themselves at what is a colourful and lively variety show.
And, just like Cromer Pier and its theatre, it's
Gorleston Pavilion itself which adds so much to the overall package.
I admit to being biased where the Pavilion is concerned. It's my
local theatre, and I've been going there since I was a youngster.
Having said that, in my youth it was a somewhat dreary council-run
theatre with rows of seats and, if the truth be told, not a great
deal of atmosphere.
In the 1960s the council turned from concert party-style shows to
old time music hall. Out went the theatre seats and in came chairs
Eventually the council washed their hands of a venture which was
still losing money. Not even the legendary Dick Condon of Norwich's
Theatre Royal could turn it round.
Local entertainer Carl Adams took over the show and the theatre
in the 1980s and then nine years ago Stuart Durrant and Kevin Lynch
took it on.
They've done so much to improve the theatre.
It's just been carpeted and there's a rich colour
scheme - all of which makes the ornate stage look even more impressive.
Gorleston's got that slightly quaint feel about it.
The theatre oozes charm so by the time you're sitting down you're
ready to soak up something which could either be described as old
fashioned or simply timeless.
The show is familiar enough stuff with almost
the same line-up each year. But the song and dance routines change
even if the jokes don't.
Holding it all together as the compere is the very talented Steve
Ace. He's an accomplished performer who has the audience on his
side from the word go.
Not that audiences at the Pavilion need much encouragement. They're
only too willing to sing along at the slightest provocation and
will happily "ooh" and "aaah" at the compere's
time-honoured wordy introductions.
Douglas Gorin is a singer with a powerful voice.
There's a team of dancers and completing that side is the likeable
Robert Wall and Jacqui Kelly-Doddington. Their version of The Last
Night Of The World from Miss Saigon was memorable.
Nearly all of the cast are local but it's a special
pleasure to see youngster Anna Stagg making her professional debut
Topping the bill - as he has done for the last
nine years - is Nigel Boy Syer. He's an able musician whose brand
of Norfolk humour goes down well with the audience.
True he has a one-track mind - a bit of a dirt track - but with
his combination of cheekiness and gormlessness he gets away with
The show is well presented with lots of colourful
costumes, effective lighting and a fixed set which works really
It's a feast for the eye. The song and dance medleys were well done.
And, as one who loves Cole Porter's tunes, the finale featuring
the best from Anything Goes, was a tremendous tap dancing finish
which sent us all off happily into the night.