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Water Rats reviewed

PUBLISHED: 10:16 20 August 2010 | UPDATED: 11:57 16 September 2010

Water Rats

Pavilion Theatre



BRING Me Sunshine couldn't have been a better overture on a wet evening in Gorleston when the entertainers' charity, the Grand Order of Water Rats, staged one of the liveliest variety shows ever seen at the Pavilion Theatre.

Water Rats

Pavilion Theatre

BRING Me Sunshine couldn't have been a better overture on a wet evening in Gorleston when the entertainers' charity, the Grand Order of Water Rats, staged one of the liveliest variety shows ever seen at the Pavilion Theatre.

From the opening bars of the music until the finale over three-and-a-half hours later this was a packed programme from a line-up of artists who all gave their time free for charity.

The Grand Order, a kind of theatrical Rotary Club , was founded in 1889. The Pavilion was built not long after at the turn of the last century so it was appropriate that much of the show should happily wallow in nostalgia.

Paul James and Billy Nutt combined power ballads of previous decades with some gentle comedy and reminders of TV ads of days gone by - all of which the packed audience recalled !

Julie Rogers, a singer who enjoyed fame in the '60s with her hit 'The Wedding', and a member of the Rats' sister organisation, the Lady Ratlings, took us through some great medleys from that period as well as 'Wind beneath my wings'; Chas McDevitt, the king of Skiffle music was also a big hit with numbers from the 50s and 60s, including a tribute to Buddy Holly.

The London Philharmonic Skiffle Orchestra entertained with their daft antics and musicianship - Elvis's 'Love Me Tender' played on the knee trumpet and musical saw was a good example!

To prove that variety is still very much alive, the company of the Pavilion's 'Showtime' presented two of their big production numbers which added a great deal of colour while the stars of Cromer's 'Seaside Special', father and son duo Simmons and Simmons got the biggest laughs of the night with a familiar routine which never fails to bring tears of laughter to this reviewer.

The versatile Roy Hudd was the star of the show.

Best known today as the undertaker in Coronation Street and about to take to the West End stage in a comedy, he brought a gallery of Music Hall artists back to life, rounding off triumphantly as Bud Flanagan.

Ken Joy devised and introduced the show which was backed by a live trio of musicians led by Phil Phillips.

This Sunday Night at Gorleston Pavilion will be long remembered with pleasure and, with the theatre provided free, all the proceeds will go towards helping older variety artists and other charitable causes.

Tony Mallion

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