Monday, 14 July 2008

The Line-Up From Hell

The premier venue in Southend for all the biggest shows is the Cliffs Pavillion (this is no tin-pot affair either, it must be a 1500 seater). Located less than 4 miles away from Piley Towers, it's the ideal theatre to have a few pints and still be home in no time... Well it would be if they ever had anything decent on! I've been going to shows here for over 30 years, but it really is the odd little nugget in a vast field of shite (if I'm there more than twice in one year it's a miracle). The crazy thing is, they are preaching to the converted here - i love nothing better than a night out at the theatre, and where more convinient than the one on your doorstep? Yet they rarely provide me with anything to make me spend my money. Like a fool I always get excited when their booklet of upcoming shows drops through the letterbox... yet minutes later it's thrown in the bin with disgust. Even before you open it you know what it'll contain:

  • at least 4 or 5 tribute acts, one of which is ALWAYS an Abba one
  • a few shit musicals
  • a few old fossils you though had died years ago
  • a smattering of racial hatred (allegedly!)
  • a few shows that just sound terrible
  • and a partridge in a pear tree....
The new booklet that has just arrived is no exception, and the above categories are ably filled by:

  • 'One Night of Queen', 'Elvis is in the Building', 'The Illegal Eagles', 'They Will Rock You - Rod Stewart and Tina Turner' and (of course!) 'Abba Mania'.
  • 'Hello Dolly' with Anita Dobson, 'The Jungle Book', 'Fiddler on the Roof' with Joe McGann, 'Shout' with Claire Sweeney and Sue Pollard, 'All The Fun of The Fair' with David Essex (love the insightful line in the book which informs us that this new musical is "inspired by Davids debut album 'All The Fun of The Fair' as the words of the title suggest" well thanks for clearing that one up for us!).
  • Joe Pasquale, Chas and Dave, Jane McDonald, The Drifters, Derek Acorah, Level 42 and Steve Steinmans 'Vampires Rock' (special guest Toyah Wilcox as the devil queen)
  • Jim Davidson, Roy Chubby Brown.
But this time they have excelled themselves, and i think I've spotted the worst line up ever. Entitled "Best of British Variety Tour 2008", this show is undoubtedly the work of the devil, featuring (and I quote) "the cream of variety entertainment" (surely one for the Trade Descriptions people if ever there was one). So who have we got lined up then??

Cannon and Ball, Paul Daniels, Frank Carson, Jimmy Cricket, Brotherhood of Man and the fuckin' Krankies!!

Tickets for this laughter-fest are a 'fan-dabbi-dozy' £25, but i would genuinely pay someone that just so i didn't have to suffer it.
Anyone recall a worse line up?



Axe Victim said...

Hur hur hur! I saw that ad in the Sunday paeprs and I laughed out loud at the propspect of that line up. I am a big fan of Richmond Theatre and I confess that we get a bit spoiled sometimes, especially as it is on our doorstep. I know how it feels though when you open the mailer with soem expectation of a few decent shows adn you get nothing but bummers for a whole season. Now I am something a light entertainment buffer. I am simply low brow. I always have been. I'm as common as muck me. But I'd rather stick needles in my eyes than subject myself to an evening of that crapola. I would not go even if I had free tickets in a box with a free bar on top and topless barmaids too boot! That has to be the worst line up of all time. Mind you luv. If I was on 'oliday in Sarfend n' I sees the poster fer it. Oi might jes tayk me family n' at t'see da show. But only ifer tickets was available ona' Social like. Y'knarrwharamean'at?

Mondo said...

Out of all the ol' tut in the listings- the only thing that semi tempted me was "Best of British Variety Tour".

And how many more Elvis tributes do we need in Southend? I saw one live in Pikey Mar... errr Pitsea Market, singing 'Return To Pitsea' (usually near the meat van if you fancy a peep)

rockmother said...

Ha ha ha - Derek Acorah and Level 42 on the same bill - that's hilarious. What has Toyah sunk to?

My friend told me that he saw an ad for Lincoln's finest tribute act Barry White Stripes. That made me laugh - alot! In fact - I think I may have to go and google right now.

Ad said...

I really want to see the Krankies.
it's been ages since I've seen a cross dressing, incestuous, paedophile double act.
The local church recently tried to book Magic Ship when the local 'Elvis' was unavailable. They were shocked we wouldn't do a set full of Abba and Elvis covers. I did tell them to go forth, etc.
I didn't have the heart to tell Axe.

Radio Wun no. 3 up.

rockmother said...

Maybe we should all have a bit of a blogmeet and go and see The Krankies for a laugh?

Er...ok...maybe not

Piley said...

Ta for the comments.

Axe - oi loiks it may't, but yous be needin a nice Ford ta be gettin dahn there in a bitta style..

Mondo - I'd imagine the real Elvis always dreamt of playing venues like the Pitsea meat van, it's tragic we lost him so young...

Ad - i understand there are 1 or 2 tickets left if you act quickly...

am up for the blogmeet RM, but where exactly would the 'laugh' bit come from with only the Krankies, Jimmy Cricket and Frank Carson available??!

I'm going to see Martin Degville (ex Sigue Sigue Sputnik) at the Metro on Oxford St on 7th Aug, anyone fancy a blogmeet there instead??! I'll see if he can dress up as a 'wee cheeky kid' if it'll help??

Anonymous said...

I'm actually doing casual work there at the moment and totally agree with your comments Piley. I'm told that the woman who runs the gaff and books the show's etc is on 80 grand a year , i nearly shit !!!!!. The place is clapped out too and really in need of new carpets and a lick of paint etc etc. I used to see loads of bands at the cliffs , Uriah Heep , Wishbone Ash , Hawkwind , UFO , The Almighty , Dods D'amour , Buzzcocks , Tne Damned etc etc but there is hardly any thing worth a light on now. They book shows like Hello Dolly for 8 days at a time getting 300 / 500 in a night when if they just booked them for three day's they would at least have three packed houses. More rock n roll less horse shit please !!!. We dont get any concessions as staff only for crap stuff that wont sell. It could be a great place but it's stuck in a rut and they wont spend any money to get it up where it should be. I have a soft spot for the place and know it could be much better.

E F RICE said...

Must disagree with you here Piley, you have completely missed the value for money this provides. I mean just over £6 for each act is a bargain ! You have also completely overlooked the quality on offer in September at the Cliffs in 'Footloose The Musical'. Come on Piley let's hear it for the boy !

PS - Yes it is shit. My little girl fancies a pantomime this year at the Cliffs, I enquired and it's the f'kin Chuckle Brothers......

Piley said...

Cheers Anon - as our mole on the inside, do please keep up all updated on ticket sales for this show! I know who you are, but consider me to be like Alfred the butler, and you can be Batman... i'll never reveal you're identity to a single living soul, not even to 'ol tic-tac-man... oh sh!t...

EFR - Good to see you back on the blog rounds! Now if they'd added those cheeky chuckles to the Karankies show, THAT woulda been a hell-of-a line up... t'you EFR...


Axe Victim said...

Oize goyt er Ford. Scorpio it eez. Gotz a lamb liviyneyt.

Blog meet. Details on my site for a right royal knees up.

Anonymous said...

Have seen some good bands here over the years, UFO, Quo, Gillan, the Manics but they have been very rare. Couldn't believe it when I turned up to see Jerry Sadowitz there and found they'd only sold about 200 - 300 tickets. They seem to be a bit like Club Riga in that respect i.e. they don't seem to advertise much. Could be a gold mine if they booked the right acts.

Anonymous said...

I believe that The Chuckle Brothers are doing the panto again as well

The Cliffs used to be good. There was a time in the mid-eighties when all manner of bands that you actually wanted to see played there. Now, with the odd exception (Frankie Boyle is playing there in November), it is total bollocks.

Still it caters for a seaside town whose inhabitants are, in the words of Frankie Boyle, "a holding pen for the Jeremy Kyle Show".

Anonymous said...

Piley, your blog made smile -- I've lived in Southend all my life and have only once felt excited at the prospect of seeing anyone play the Cliffs Pavillion. I can't remember the exact year, but I think it was 1985. The Smiths were touring and amazingly, chose to come to Southend-on-Sea. On the fateful night, clutching our tickets tightly, me and several hundred others formed a long orderly queue, outside the theatre door. A great night was antipated. Then, after some serious delays we were told that the gig had been cancelled at the last minute - the rumour was that Morrissey allegedly thought the stage too small. I was absolutely gutted, but did manage to see the band elsewhere. That was the best concert the Cliffs Pavillion ever advertised...but sadly it never happened.