Search

‘Fingers crossed’ - Hippodrome performers anxiously hoping the show will go on

PUBLISHED: 18:32 05 August 2020 | UPDATED: 20:31 05 August 2020

Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020

Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

Archant 2020

Normally performers at the Hippodrome in Great Yarmouth would be disappointed with an audience of only fifteen people.

Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

But for Johnny Mac, comedian at the venue’s Summer Spectacular, the dress rehearsal on Wednesday afternoon (August 5) “felt like playing Wembley”.

Mr Mac, from Scotland, is part of a group of entertainers including acrobats, trapeze artists, dancers and fire-eaters who were assembled in the space of two weeks to thrill audiences this August and September.

The show was originally scheduled to begin on August 1, but after a last-minute government U-turn delaying the reopening of theatres for another two weeks, the performers have had to wait, and bite their nails.

Back in March Mr Mac had packed his bags and was ready to come to Great Yarmouth to perform at the Easter show but then the country went into lockdown and all performances were called off.

Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

When, last month, it looked possible the Hippodrome would be able put on a show this summer, he was in the town within 48 hours.

“Just doing this dress rehearsal felt like performing to a thousand people. I feel like I’ve been reborn,” he said.

“It’s a strange experience being a live performer or comedian. We crave that audience.”

Jack Jay, ringmaster and producer, said the last few weeks have been “a real rollercoaster ride”.

Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

At the start of July, it looked like the circus would be able put on a show this summer and he quickly assembled a group of perform.

It was during what was supposed to be the final dress rehearsal last Friday (July 31) the team learned of the government’s U-turn.

“It was crushing,” Mr Jay says, “but we’re now hoping it will come back on the 15th.”

It would be “tragic” if the show could not go ahead, he said.

Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

While adapted to the current restrictions, with a shorter running time of 80 minutes and no interval, this year’s summer spectacular is the Hippodrome’s typical thrilling mix of comedy, acrobatics, trapeze artists, dancing, fire-breathing and other daring acts.

But will people get to see the show?

Government guidelines currently indicate theatres will reopen on August 15.

“Fingers crossed,” Mr Jay says, “fingers crossed.”

Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

The Summer Spectacular is scheduled to run until September 20.

Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020Cast members put on a show for rehersals of the summer spectacular which is currently not running due to restrictions. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Great Yarmouth Mercury. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Most Read

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Most Read

Latest from the Great Yarmouth Mercury