1989 January to March

1st January – continuing – CINDERELLA

6th February – CLOSED

14th February – OLIVER

On the stage – for five days – Oliver – Southern Theatre Productions whose first production of OLIVER played the Gaumont in 1982 were moving towards the end of their association with the theatre due to lack of suitable dates and the rapidly increasing costs of staging large scale musicals for such a big hall.

21st February – ROSE MARIE

Live – on stage – Rose Marie – Mayflower –

Rose-Marie Avramescu is a singer, television personality, actress and radio presenter from Northern Ireland. The daughter of Ann and Owen, she is one of six siblings raised on a farm While Rose-Marie enjoyed success as a local and national television personality in the United Kingdom, she has also released nineteen albums, all of which have gone either gold or platinum in the UK. At the International Music Awards, Rose-Marie was voted ‘Most Popular Singer’, and has sold out at the London Palladium on more than one occasion. This was her third concert at the Mayflower.

A performance by Rose Marie


On the screen – Live by satellite – one day only – SUPER HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP – A rare occasion for the Mayflower, live television coverage of a major event. Something that had been a popular feature at the Gaumont from as far back as 1966. This was the to be a memorable battle between two superstars competing for the title of Heavyweight Champion of the World. Coverage was of the whole evening, live from Las Vegas Hilton.

Tyson was coming off a 1st-round knockout over the previously undefeated Michael Spinks, which not only gave Tyson the lineal heavyweight title, but laid to rest any doubt over who was the rightful heavyweight champion. Next for Tyson was a bout against popular British fighter Frank Bruno that was originally set for October 8, 1988 at Wembley Stadium in Bruno’s native England. However, on August 23, 1988, Tyson was involved in a street fight with former adversary Mitch Green, whom Tyson had defeated prior to his Championship fight with Trevor Berbick. During the scuffle Tyson hit Green with a right hand that resulted in Green requiring five stitches and Tyson breaking his hand. Due to Tyson’s injury, the fight was pushed back to October 22. This was only the beginning of Tyson’s troubles. On September 5, Tyson was involved in a car accident that knocked him unconscious. A month later, Tyson’s estranged wife Robin Givens filed for divorce on October 7 and in the following month filed a $125 million defamation suit against Tyson as well.

Because of Tyson’s problems, the proposed October 22 fight against Bruno at Wembley Stadium was scrapped. Instead the fight was shifted to the United States and rescheduled for January 14, 1989 at the Las Vegas Hilton. However, this fight was also postponed, allegedly because of financial disagreements between Tyson’s manager Bill Cayton and Tyson’s promoter Don King. On December 15, 1988, it was officially announced that the long-awaited Tyson–Bruno fight would finally take place on February 25, 1989 at the Las Vegas Hilton.

The fight

28th February – THE MIKADO

On the stage – for FIVE days – THE MIKADO – There was a scare when the manager of the Mayflower informed the Southampton Amateur Operatic Society that the New Sadlers Wells Company was planning to perform The Mikado at the theatre but, when that visit did not materialise, there was only one real option available for a minimal risk show and the Committee seized the opportunity. Both Anne Starbuck and Graham Buchanan were keen to produce The Mikado and the Committee’s vote was split evenly between them, leaving the Chairman to make a casting vote in Anne’s favour. Finding an MD was not so easy though, Philip Johnson and David Frost had already declined the offer and Paul Spanton, Valerie Nunns and Cliff Palmer followed suit before Pamela Bennett agreed to fill the vacancy. Ray Olden was Stage Manager and, whilst he was delighted with the number of volunteers to paint the set, he was less than happy that only Phil Dennis turned up at Nursling on the Sunday morning to help unload the van and carry the flats into the store.

The newly formed Junior Section immediately began to fulfil the hopes of the Society as two members, Lucy Braga and Nyle Wolfe, successfully auditioned to join the ‘Seniors’ and, furthermore, eight junior members were included in the company as coolies, children of Titipu and Ko-Ko’s assistant (Dominic O’Farrell). The auditions nearly produced a full cast but a suitable Nanki-Poo was not found. An ex-member, Philip Ferris, was approached to audition for the part (which he did successfully) – a move that did not have the approval of all the members.

Anne made great efforts to ensure her production was as accurate as possible and even contacted the Japanese Embassy in London requesting details of the Japanese Tea Ceremony (there was no internet to ‘google’ in 1989) and they responded by sending her a video of the tradition. A group of four then copied the required moves to perform and help set the atmosphere during the overture. When the curtains opened, the audience was greeted by the sight of a very busy market place in Titipu lying in the shadows of a menacing volcano. There were 41 in the chorus and nine ‘extras’ so, with the addition of two Japanese-style carts, even the large stage was full.

The Echo reviewer was obviously impressed by the spectacle: ‘Startling reds, oranges and yellows, stunningly pretty sets and costumes with a traditional Japanese feel have been chosen as the backing to the rich score. I loved the new words to the List Song which poked fun at health fanatics, politicians and paperboys. The three schoolgirls, Cerys Williams (Yum-Yum), Jenny Foster (Peep-Bo) and Margaret Amey (Pitti-Sing) were debs of delight. David Jupp played the snobby Pooh-Bah, Peter Robson as Ko-Ko and Pamela de Grouchy (Katisha) were good in the comic scenes and Paul Shakespeare brought menace to the stage as the black-clad Mikado. Impressive singing came from the other leads and chorus in this capital production.’

As usual, The Mikado did not disappoint financially making an overall profit of £3817 but after VAT was subtracted, the balance book only showed £2513.


On the stage – for one day – Foster and Allen – a musical duo from Ireland consisting of Mick Foster and Tony Allen. “A Bunch of Thyme” (entered the Irish chart in 1979 and became their first No. 1 single), “Maggie” became a No. 1 in New Zealand for four weeks, making the two songs their signature tunes. They started in the 1970s as a duo, but in 1982 they added a band to their show. Subsequently they achieved album and video sales in excess of 22 million worldwide. They had previously played the Gaumont in 1983 and 1984 and would go on to play a further 2 concerts at the Mayflower.

A hit number from Foster And Allen


On the stage – for one day – Brother Beyond – a British boy band/pop group who had mainstream success in the late 1980s comprising Nathan Moore (24), vocalist – David Ben White – (23), guitarist/vocalist – Carl Fysh (28), keyboardist – Steve Alexander (26), drummer. At first they were with the stable of Stock Aitken Waterman however they moved to EMI where they achieved their biggest successes and by the time they made their only appearance at the Mayflower they had achieved three top 20 hits and a top ten album with ‘Get Even’.

A hit from Brother Beyond


On the stage – for one day – French and Saunders – In 1987, comediennes Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders created their eponymous tv sketch show, which carried over six seasons up until 2007. Their show began humbly, but immediately established its own niche as a spoof on other types of shows. One of their first live dates was this one at the Mayflower and they revisited the theatre 3 more times, the last being in 2008.

French & Saunders performing

14th March – MY FAIR LADY

On the stage – for five days (theatre closed Sun 12th & Mon 13th) Southampton Musical Society’s MY FAIR LADY. There had been previously three amateur productions, the first was by SMS back in 1972, some 6 years after the first professional production at the Gaumont.

Was it the usual practice for the Chairman of the Society and a committee member/secretary to get the lead roles in these productions?


On the stage – for one night only – DAVID HELLEWELL – a composer, conductor and performer of avant-garde classical music who formed, as conductor and musical director, APOLLO CONTEMPORARY MUSIC, an ensemble of virtuoso players dedicated to the performance of new music. The ensemble gave many premiers and commissioned new works, with concerts at leading London venues, and in the provinces including here at the Mayflower, as well as BBC broadcasts on Radio 3’s “Music in our Time”. He was also involved with his roots in jazz, rock and popular music, and in fact he composed a whole new genre of music for classical (and in particular for young) musicians during this period – “Mister D” Music, which combined and extended a multitude of sources such as classical, jazz, rock, latin american, baroque, romantic and popular music.

Based in Bournemouth his music is now widely performed and appreciated, and ranges from small popular pieces to ‘Rock Sonatas’ (his creation), instrumentals, concertos, symphonic and electronic compositions. His latest music has developed from this into what he now terms a new “Multi-Dimensional” music.

David Hellewell performing one of his own compositions

21st March – POSTMAN PAT

On the stage – for 5 days – (not Monday) – POSTMAN PAT – aimed at pre-school children, and concerns the adventures of Pat Clifton, a postman in the fictional village of Greendale. Derived from the 1981 BBC1 animated tv series this was the first time that everyone’s favourite postman appeared on stage in a fun filled, all action live show.

Watch the trailer

25th March – JIM DAVIDSON

On the stage – one night only – Jim Davidson – this was the first of many appearances at the Southampton Mayflower. He had established himself a television persona with appearances on ‘What’s On Next’ and several series of his own show ‘The Jim Davidson Show’ (1979–1982) which ran for five complete series and won Davidson the TV Times award as “Funniest Man On Television”. He went on to star in TV sitcoms ‘Up the Elephant and Round the Castle’ (1983–1985) and ‘Home James!’ (1987-88). This tour was developed from his original London comedy circuit show, for pub and club audiences. Aimed at a very different audience from that of his television work, it contained a lot of strong language, which he promoted as adult entertainment.

A live appearance from around this time – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RH_KCCb7i4E


On the stage for 5 days – English Shakespeare Company – The Wars Of The Roses – |Tu:Richardll|We:HenrylV#1|Thurs:HenrylV#2|Fri:HenryV|Sat am:HenryVl#1|Sat pm:HenryVi#2|Sat eve: Richard lll

The company had been founded in 1986 by Michael Bogdanov and Michael Pennington to present and promote the works of William Shakespeare on both a national and an international level. Funding came from the Arts Council of Great Britain, and also commercially from the Allied Irish Bank and Canadian retail tycoon Ed Mirvish.

This was the first and only time that the cycle has been performed in Southampton and it called here as part of an international tour following a critically successful season at London’s Old Vic. The tour took in 17 UK cities and several international venues, including the Hong Kong Festival; opening the new Tokyo Globe Theatr;, being the centrepiece of The World Theatre Festival of Chicago; and touring to Stamford, Connecticut; the Spoleto Festival, Melbourne; the Adelaide Festival, Brisbane; The Netherlands; Hamburg, Berlin and Frankfurt.

Watch the tv broadcast of English Shakespeare Company’s Henry IV Part 1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZ8dAvTGGyw

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