If you want to hear about the time Bobby called His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales ‘Cock’ then this play is for you. Of course, I mean ‘cock’ in the fun, affectionate, friendly Northern pet-name meaning of the word.
If fun, affectionate, friendly Northerners are your thing then you’ll find them in abundance in BOBBY BALL’s play ‘The Dressing Room’.
The play returns after its first successful run around North-West fringe theatres last year. It stars the best of old-school northern comedians, who have racked up a whopping 200 years of experience on the comedy circuit between them.
The cast, includes Bobby himself and, of course, his long-standing comedy partner TOMMY CANNON – As well as the lovable JONNIE CASSON (Jimmy Laugh) and flamboyant STU FRANCIS (Billy Tents).
For those who are expecting a ‘play’ in the traditional sense of the word, I think it would be wise for me to warn you that The Dressing Room is not that. It’s better described as: a comedy sketch show loosely tied together with a few scenes set in the dressing room where the cast anxiously await to take to the stage.
Bobby himself wouldn’t mind that I’m being so reluctant to describe his latest endeavour as a play, having coined his own word for how the show might be described – ‘playriety’, a combination of sitcom, variety entertainment & play. (The ‘play’ aspect being the smallest part).
The core story is that of Jimmy Laugh. (The irony is in the name as Jimmy Laugh was not laughing at all). He enters holding an urn of ashes of whom we believe to be his wife’s. It is the anniversary of the death and on this day Jimmy always keeps the ashes close by to be reminded of fond memories of the past. Between trying to comfort him the rest of the variety acts have to go out on to stage smiling as this is show business… And the show must go on.
The stage is cleverly split down the middle; one half dressing room and the other half the stage- you’ll really get your money’s worth, two plays for the price of one. It’s almost like a ‘behind the scenes’ unceremonious glimpse of what goes on back stage, exploring the relationships & tensions between the performers in an amusing & daft communal setting.
Be warned your sides will be split by this laugh a minute play. And your heart will be warmed by the tales that are shared by Bobby & Tommy about their half century (plus) of working together.
So, if you’re a fan of Bobby & Tommy, Jonnie or Stu, I urge you to see them when they’re next onstage. I promise you’ll have a right good ol’ laugh.
The Dressing Room was performed in Preston’s Charter Theatre on August 2nd 2016.
Kieren has had a passion for theatre from a young age. With a BA (Hons) in Drama & Theatre, he is heavily involved in the arts; a practicing professional actor & award winning business owner of School for Stage.
Follow him and his business on Twitter @KieSpe @SchoolForStage