The birth of an Icon: I was there

In Features, London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Photos, Plays by Terri PaddockLeave a Comment

Obviously I go to the theatre a lot: but last night truly was special. I had the huge privilege of attending a premiere, at the White Bear Theatre, that marked the playwriting debut of a dear friend, whose scripts I’ve had the honour of reading over many years.

That’s not to suggest that said friend, Dave Cantor, is a perennial wannabe. He’s had tremendous success in television, not least as a staff writer for three of the BBC’s most successful sitcoms: My Family, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps and The Green Green Grass. But in the decade or so that we’ve been close, Dave has also held an ambition to write for the stage. An ambition that I always loudly encouraged.

Last night marked the start of what I’m sure will be a long affair with the stage for Dave. His new one-act piece, I Play for Me, was commissioned by producer David Donegan as a companion piece to another short new play, Tom O’Brien‘s Kathy Kirby: Icon. The latter tracks the real-life story of the 1960s British singing star, a contemporary of Dusty Springfield, Lulu and Cilla Black who slipped more quickly and cruelly into obscurity.

Tina Rose is defiant but broken as old Kathy

Dave’s play, which opens the double bill, briefly features a young Kathy and her controlling father figure/lover Bert Ambrose as minor characters, but centres on a fictional, though equally troubled, male singer called Elliot Figueroa. In Tim Heath‘s production, Elliot is imbued with proper rock-star charisma and vocal oomph by Kiwi-born actor-singer Eddie Mann.

It’s a tremendous performance. I was also impressed by the belting singing voice of Maggie Lynne as young Kathy Kirby and the incredible vulnerability and pathos captured by Tina Rose as old Kathy Kirby, who grasp on reality became more tenuous as she withdrew into reclusiveness, before passing away in 2011.

Also in the cast of this double bill of plays with music: Lloyd Morris, Harry McLeod, Jeremy Gagan, Abi O’Keiffe and Michael Scott Wiseman. Thanks to all of them – and the inimitable piano entertainer Bobby Crush (a.k.a our own British Liberace), who worked with Kathy Kirby before her retirement and was one of the show’s first night guests. A charming man.

Kathy Kirby: Icon and I Play for Me continue at London’s White Bear Theatre, Kennington, until 8 November 2015.

 

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Terri Paddock
Terri Paddock runs the Terri Paddock Group, which provides content and social media marketing services for theatre clients across channels including MyTheatreMates.com, StageFaves.com, Stage Talk and TerriPaddock.com. Previously,
Terri Paddock founded WhatsOnStage.com and the WhatsOnStage Awards, running the company and its events from 1996 to 2013. Terri is also the author of two novels, Come Clean and Beware the Dwarfs, and has previously written for the Evening Standard, Independent, The Times and other national publications. She is renowned for her 'legendary' post-show Q&As and also produces the annual Critics' Circle Theatre Awards and acts as a digital, content strategy and event consultant for theatre, producers and other clients. She tweets about theatre at @TerriPaddock.
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Terri Paddock on FacebookTerri Paddock on InstagramTerri Paddock on LinkedinTerri Paddock on TwitterTerri Paddock on Youtube
Terri Paddock
Terri Paddock runs the Terri Paddock Group, which provides content and social media marketing services for theatre clients across channels including MyTheatreMates.com, StageFaves.com, Stage Talk and TerriPaddock.com. Previously,
Terri Paddock founded WhatsOnStage.com and the WhatsOnStage Awards, running the company and its events from 1996 to 2013. Terri is also the author of two novels, Come Clean and Beware the Dwarfs, and has previously written for the Evening Standard, Independent, The Times and other national publications. She is renowned for her 'legendary' post-show Q&As and also produces the annual Critics' Circle Theatre Awards and acts as a digital, content strategy and event consultant for theatre, producers and other clients. She tweets about theatre at @TerriPaddock.

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