1989 October to December


On the stage – one night only – 50th Anniversary of WWll – Marking the anniversary of the outbreak of World War II a special concert starring Anne Shelton, a popular English vocalist, who is remembered for providing inspirational songs for soldiers both on radio broadcasts, and in person, at British military bases during the Second World War. Shelton was also the original British singer of the Lale Anderson German love-song “Lili Marlene”. Dhe was backed by the New Squadronaires Orchestra playing the music of the great swing bands including Glenn Miller Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw and others. The audience were encouraged to enjoy a nostalgic evening of magical music from a band that consists of young musicians as they looked back. No long hair, beards or earrings, dressed in RAF uniforms and playing the swing sounds of the era as it was played then!

Anne Shelton performing


On the stage – for FIVE days – LONDON CONTEMPORARY DANCE THEATRE – The London Contemporary Dance Theatre (LCDT) was a contemporary dance company, based at The Place, founded by Robin Howard with Robert Cohan as its Artistic Director. Founded in 1967, and strongly influenced by the ideas of American modern and postmodern dance artists Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham, the company was probably the first contemporary dance company in the UK, and played a pioneering role in developing the art form in that country. Choreographers such as Siobhan Davies, Christopher Bannerman and Micha Bergese, worked alongside composers like Barrington Pheloung to create new works which were performed at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre and toured the UK and internationally.

The company had first performed in Southampton in 1982 and had appeared at the Gaumont another three times and this was their third of five visits to the Mayflower before being wound up in 1994.

On this week’s visit the programme comprised two new works – ARDEN COURT and TO COMFORT GHOSTS. Arden Court was a bucolic masterpiece by Paul Taylor. Set to a series of excerpted symphonies by baroque composer William Boyce, Arden Court allows for the dancers to be at once both playful and majestic. It is a work that has subsequently been added to the repertoire of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.

Extract from Arden Court

9th October – CLOSED

14th October – VAN MORRISON

Live – in concert – VAN MORRISON, a Northern Irish singer-songwriter, instrumentalist and record producer. His professional career began as a teenager in the late 1950s playing a variety of instruments including guitar, harmonica, keyboards and saxophone for various Irish showbands, covering the popular hits of that time. Van Morrison rose to prominence in the mid-1960s as the lead singer of the Northern Irish R&B band Them, with whom he recorded the garage band classic “Gloria”. His solo career began under the pop-hit oriented guidance of Bert Berns with the release of the hit single “Brown Eyed Girl” in 1967. After Berns’s death, Warner Bros. Records bought out his contract and allowed him three sessions to record Astral Weeks (1968). Though this album gradually garnered high praise, it was initially a poor seller. Moondance (1970) established Morrison as a major artist and he built on his reputation throughout the 1970s with a series of acclaimed albums and live performances.

He appeared twice at the Gaumont in the early eighties and would return to the Mayflower in the future.

Van Morrison performing in 1989


Live on stage – for one day only – CLEO LAINE & JOHN DANKWORTH – Cleo Laine is an English jazz, pop singer and actress, known for her scat singing and for her vocal range. Though her natural rage is that of a contralto, she is able to produce a G above high C, giving her an overall compass of well over three octaves. Laine is the only female performer to have received Grammy nominations in the jazz, popular and classical music categories. She was married to JOHN DANKWORTH, an English jazz composer, saxophonist, clarinetist and writer of film scores. Together they worked perfectly as music educator and music director.

A performance by Cleo Laine with John Dankworth


On stage – for FIVE days – WELSH NATIONAL OPERA returned for its second visit to the Mayflower in 1989, for this its autumn season it brought three productions. Opening on the Tuesday and also performing on Friday was Lucia di Lammermoor is a tragic opera in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti. Salvadore Cammarano wrote the Italian-language libretto loosely based upon Sir Walter Scott’s historical novel The Bride of Lammermoor. Donizetti wrote Lucia di Lammermoor in 1835, a time when several factors led to the height of his reputation as a composer of opera. Gioachino Rossini had recently retired and Vincenzo Bellini had died shortly before the premiere of Lucia leaving Donizetti as “the sole reigning genius of Italian opera”. Not only were conditions ripe for Donizetti’s success as a composer, but there was also a European interest in the history and culture of Scotland. The perceived romance of its violent wars and feuds, as well as its folklore and mythology, intrigued 19th century readers and audiences. Sir Walter Scott dramatised these elements in his novel The Bride of Lammermoor, which inspired several musical works including Lucia. The story concerns the emotionally fragile Lucy Ashton (Lucia) who is caught in a feud between her own family and that of the Ravenswoods. The setting is the Lammermuir Hills of Scotland (Lammermoor) in the 17th century. On Wednesday and Saturday the company performed The Bartered Bride, a comic opera in three acts by the Czech composer Bedřich Smetana, to a libretto by Karel Sabina. The work is generally regarded as a major contribution towards the development of Czech music. It was composed during the period 1863 to 1866, and first performed at the Provisional Theatre, Prague, on 30 May 1866 in a two-act format with spoken dialogue. Set in a country village and with realistic characters, it tells the story of how, after a late surprise revelation, true love prevails over the combined efforts of ambitious parents and a scheming marriage broker. The opera was not immediately successful, and was revised and extended in the following four years. In its final version, premiered in 1870, it rapidly gained popularity and eventually became a worldwide success. Thursday’s production was Der Freischütz a German opera with spoken dialogue in three acts by Carl Maria von Weber with a libretto by Friedrich Kind. It premiered on 18 June 1821 at the Schauspielhaus Berlin. It is considered the first important German Romantic opera, especially in its national identity and stark emotionality. The plot is based on the German folk legend of the Freischütz and many of its tunes were thought to be inspired by German folk music, but this is a common misconception. Its unearthly portrayal of the supernatural in the famous Wolf’s Glen scene has been described as “the most expressive rendering of the gruesome that is to be found in a musical score”.

Overture to Der Freischuz

23rd October – GARY NUMAN

Live on stage – one night only – GARY NUMAN – an English singer, musician, songwriter, composer, and record producer. He first entered the music industry as the frontman of the new wave band Tubeway Army. After releasing two albums with the band, he released his debut solo album The Pleasure Principle in 1979, topping the UK Albums Chart. His commercial popularity peaked in the late 1970s and early 1980s with the No. 1 singles “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” and “Cars”.

This concert marked his third visit to the Mayflower.

Gary Numan performing Cars in 1989

24th October – PHIL COOL

Live on stage – one night only – PHIL COOL. Whereas many of his impressionist peers concentrated on mimicking the voice of the target and changing in and out of a succession of make-up and costumes, Cool instead placed an emphasis on thrusting his eyebrows, lips and even, seemingly, his ears into the positions required of the part. Cool’s debut television appearance was in the short-lived comedy show Rock With Laughter, it was round about this time that he made a career-defining performance at Jasper Carrott’s Folk Club “The Boggery”. Carrott was impressed with Cool’s act and decided to take an active hand in furthering his career. In 1983 he appeared as a regular on the O.T.T. spin-off Saturday Stayback and, in 1984, he became one of the voice artists for the satirical show Spitting Image, impersonating Boy George, Holly Johnson and Mick Jagger for the first two series. It was during his time on Spitting Image that a producer for the BBC spotted him, and got him work on Pebble Mill at One.

After the success of these appearances, he was given his own series called Cool It (BBC). The first series of Cool It was repeated within a matter of months. There was a tie-in video release of the best moments of Cool It. The second series aired in 1986 and was also produced by Jasper Carrott. The BBC released another video Cool It Too. Cool recorded an album on Virgin Records called Not Just a Pretty Face, and a book titled Cool’s Out. In 1987, he performed at The Secret Policeman’s Third Ball. The third and final series was broadcast in 1988. In 1989 he appeared in the mini-film Night of the Comic Dead alongside Frank Carson, Karl Howman and Howard Lew Lewis as part of A Night of Comic Relief 2. His third video, Cool ‘N’ Hot, was filmed live at the Royal Leamington Spa Centre in 1989. This concert at the Mayflower was the second of three appearances at the Mayflower.

An excerpt from his tv show

26th October – BEN ELTON

Live – for one day only – BEN ELTON – a 30 year old British-Australian comedian, author, playwright, actor and director. He was a part of London’s alternative comedy movement of the 1980s and became a writer on series such as The Young Ones and Blackadder, as well as continuing as a stand-up comedian on stage and television. His style in the 1980s was left-wing political satire. By the time of this performance at the Mayflower he had become one of Britain’s biggest live comedy acts.

Ben Elton performing in 1989


Live – one day only – GALA CHARITY CONCERT IN AID OF ROYAL MARINES DEAL VICTIMS – At 8:22 am on 22 September 1989, the IRA exploded a timed bomb at the Royal Marines School of Music building in Deal. The Royal Marines School of Music at Deal was the professional training centre for musicians of the Royal Marines Band Service, the musical arm of the Royal Navy. The building collapsed, killing 11 marines from the Royal Marines Band Service and wounding another 21.

This concert featured the Hampshire Police Band, astronomer Patrick Moore and singer iris Williams who won a scholarship to the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. In 1979, she had her biggest UK hit, “He Was Beautiful”, a song based on the already well-known theme from The Deer Hunter with lyrics by Cleo Laine. As a result of hitting the national charts, she was given her own BBC series.

A statement from the Commandant General

A statement from Lt Gen Sir Martin Garrod, Commandant General RM – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMoM7jo8_j4


On the stage – for six days – THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE. In 1980, Joseph Papp and the Public Theater of New York City produced a new version of Pirates, directed by Wilford Leach and choreographed by Graciela Daniele, at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park. The show transferred to Broadway, opening on 8 January 1981 for a run of 787 regular performances. This take on Pirates earned enthusiastic reviews and seven Tony Award nominations, winning three, including the award for Best Revival and for Leach as director. It was also nominated for eight Drama Desk Awards, winning five, including Outstanding Musical and director.

The UK production opened at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, in 1982, for a run of 601 performances. In this first touring production Paul Nicholas recreated his West End role of The Pirate King and Bonnie Langford her role as Mabel. Paul Nicholas went on to become a theatre producer as did another member of the cast, a young David Ian who took on the role of Frederick.

A scene from the Royal Variety Performance featuring the original Drury Lane cast

A scene from the Royal Variety Performance featuring the original Drury Lane cast – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWzqcele1tY


On the stage – for six days – SADLER’S WELLS ROYAL BALLET – This was the final time that the company would perform at the theatre under this name. They would shortly uproot from their London home and move to Birmingham to become the Birmingham Royal Ballet. In this week, they brought two innovative dance programmes to the Mayflower. On Monday through Thursday they performed a new ballet, HOBSON’S CHOICE, based on the famous comedy and then on Friday and Saturday a TRIPLE BILL which included Sir Frederick Ashton’s THE DREAM and two pieces by MacMillan, SOLITAIRE and DIVERTIMENTO No 15.

A scene from Hobson’s Choice


On the stage – for five days – GLYNDEBOURNE TOURING OPERA – The week offered a wealth of operatic delights for everyone, from experienced opera-goer to newcomer. The opportunity to see both Rossini’s Barber Of Seville and Mozart’s Marriage Of Figaro in the same week was unusual.

On Tuesday and Thursday Mozart’s story of the Almaviva household, THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO was presented, followed on Wednesday and Friday by Rossini’s opera of the Almaviva family THE BARBER OF SEVILLE. Saturday gave Southampton a rare chance to see Benjamin Britten’s last opera DEATH IN VENICE in a new production which had premiered just months before.

Excerpts from Death In Venice

19th November – RICK MAYALL

On the stage – for one night only – RIK MAYALL – Richard Mayall was an English comedian, actor and writer. Mayall was a pioneer of alternative comedy in the 1980s. He was instrumental in creating The Comic Strip Presents… at the time the BBC took an interest in The Young Ones, a sitcom written by Mayall and his then-girlfriend Lise Mayer, in the same anarchic vein as Comic Strip. Ben Elton joined the writers. The series was commissioned and first broadcast in 1982, shortly before Comic Strip. Mayall played Rick, a pompous sociology student and Cliff Richard devotee. Mayall had a double-act with Ade Edmondson, who starred as violent punk Vyvyan. Nigel Planer (as hippie Neil) and Christopher Ryan (as “Mike the cool person”) also starred, with additional material written and performed by Alexei Sayle. The first series was successful and a second was screened in 1984. The show owed a comic debt to Spike Milligan, but Milligan was disapproving of Mayall. Milligan once wrote: “Rik Mayall is putrid – absolutely vile. He thinks nose-picking is funny and farting and all that. He is the arsehole of British comedy.”

In 1986 he had a No. 1 hit in the UK Singles Chart, when he and his co-stars from The Young Ones teamed with Cliff Richard to record “Living Doll” for the inaugural Comic Relief campaign. Mayall played Rick one last time in the Comic Relief stage-show and supported the Comic Relief cause for the rest of his life. In 1987, Mayall played fictional Conservative MP Alan Beresford B’Stard in the sitcom The New Statesman (Yorkshire Television) written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran. The character was a satirical portrait of Tory MPs in the United Kingdom in the 1980s and early 1990s. The programme ran for four series—incorporating two BBC specials—between 1987 and ’94 and was successful critically and in the ratings. In a similar vein to his appearance on Jackanory, in 1989 Mayall starred in a series of bit shows for ITV called Grim Tales, in which he narrated Grimm Brothers fairy tales while puppets acted the stories.

On this 1989 100 date tour Rik was supported by fellow comedian ANDY DE LA TOUR, who did the first-half 45-minute “warm up”. We had a hell of a time on the road, but at the end of that tour he decided to hang up the stand-up comedy boots and “retire” from the scene.

A Mayall sketch

20th November – LEGENDS OF MOTOWN

Live – for one day only – LEGENDS OF MOTOWN – MAYFLOWER – A concert tour by Scherrie Payne, Jean Terrell and Linda Lawrence of THE SUPREMES with Kim Weston, The Elgins, Syreeta and Marv Johnson, all performing the hits of Tamla Motown.

The Supremes line up theat performed at this concert


Live – for one day only – SOUNDS OF THE SIXTIES (THE RED HOT TOUR) – This was a revival show featuring the chart stars of the 1960s. This was its initial guise but it would carry on for many years adapting the name to create its own identity. This was the first of two visits to the Mayflower under this banner with the show billed as THE RED HOT TOUR. Each time there would be a different line-up. Lulu co-headlined this particular tour along with Gerry And The Pacemakers, the show also featured Marmalade.

Lulu performing in 1989

22nd November – DAVID ESSEX

On the stage – for one night only – DAVID ESSEX – Perennial favourite DAVID ESSEX having made 9 concert performances at the Gaumont makes his third appearance at the Mayflower Theatre. This time to promote his new album “Touching The Ghost” and to celebrate the success of “Rock On”, originally recorded in 1973 and released as a single and became an international hit. In 1989, American actor and singer Michael Damian recorded a cover version that went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

David Essex performing

23rd November – JASPER CARROTT

On the stage – for TWO nights – JASPER CARROTT – This was JASPER CARROTT’S first appearances at the refurbished theatre after three previous visits to the Gaumont. He started in 1969 at his own folk club, “The Boggery”, in nearby Solihull with his friend Les Ward. Carrott performed folk songs and as an MC. His banter overtook the songs and he became more a comedian than singer. He also worked as a musical agent (with John Starkey, who was his manager from 1974), as Fingimigig, managing among others Harvey Andrews. He toured UK rugby clubs. He recorded an album in 1973 called Jasper Carrot – In the Club, which he sold from his van. The album contained the original “Magic Roundabout”, although mainly material used in his next three LPs (such as “Hare Krishna”, “Car Insurance”, “Bastity Chelt”, and “Hava Nagila”) plus the Fred Wedlock song “The Folker”. He had a UK Top 5 chart hit in August 1975 with the novelty record “Funky Moped”, written by Chris Rohmann and produced by Jeff Lynne. By the late 1970s, Carrott had developed anecdotal sketches which he still performs. Often they purport to be autobiographical; many celebrate the Birmingham accent and culture, including his support of Birmingham City. His live performances were recorded as Jasper Carrott Rabbitts on and on and on… and Carrott in Notts. Notable hits were “Bastity Chelt”, a song in Spoonerism, “The Football Match” describing a visit to Old Trafford, “The Nutter on the Bus” (including the cry “Has anybody seen my camel?”), “The Mole” (“There’s only one way to get rid of a mole – blow its bloody head off!”) and “Zits” – an explanation of American slang for spots that brought the word into use in Britain. In 1979 he published A Little Zit on the Side, a humorous autobiography. The follow-up, Sweet and Sour Labrador, mixed sections of stand-up routines with similar autobiographical material, much of it related to his world travels. Carrott was once a compère for the Birmingham Heart Beat Charity Concert 1986, which featured local bands such as Electric Light Orchestra and the Moody Blues, with a finale that included George Harrison from the Beatles. Carrott moved to the BBC for Carrott’s Lib, a Saturday night comedy broadcast live, and then a string of BBC shows. The most notable were Carrott’s Commercial Breakdown, which broadcast weird adverts from around the world, and the sketch and stand-up shows Carrott Confidential, 24 Carrott Gold, The Trial of Jasper Carrott and Canned Carrott, some of which also featured Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis. Carrott played Heinrich in the 1987 British comedy film Jane and the Lost City.

Jasper Carrott performing one of his skits

25th November – CLANNAD

Live – one night only – CLANNAD – is an Irish family band formed in 1970 in Gweedore, County Donegal, Ireland. Their music has been described as folk, folk rock, traditional Irish, Celtic and new-age, often incorporating elements of smooth jazz and Gregorian chant. Formed by siblings Ciarán Brennan, Pól Brennan and Moya Brennan and their twin uncles Noel and Pádraig Duggan, the band were initially known as Clann as Dobhar; in 1973 they shortened their name to Clannad. By 1979 they had released three albums and completed a successful US tour. From 1980 to 1982, they recorded and toured as a six-piece group with Enya Brennan on additional keyboards and vocals, before she left the group to pursue a solo career. In 1982, Clannad attracted international attention with their hit single “Theme from Harry’s Game”, which was included on Magical Ring (1983). They adopted a musical direction of Celtic and pop music in the 1980s as evident on Macalla (1985).

In 1988 the album ‘Sirius’ was released by RCA, recorded in Los Angeles with rock producers Greg Ladanyi and Russ Kunkel, the drummer for James Taylor’s band. The album included a duet with Bruce Hornsby and guest appearances by Steve Perry and J.D. Souther. The title track was Pól’s encouraging call to the environmental movement, and to the Greenpeace ship of the same name. “Something to Believe In” features Hornsby on vocals and keyboards. Completed with the help of some of the biggest names on the Californian rock scene, Sirius was another different creation, just like their previous 3 albums. Received with critical apprehension, Sirius was initially, stoutly defended by the band as a change, but since then members have expressed their disappointment with the album. In 1989, Clannad embarked on their first worldwide tour and this stop at Southampton’s Mayflower was one of the first.

Clannad – Something To Believe In

28th November – EVITA

On the stage – for TWO weeks – EVITA – In 1989 EVITA embarked on a tour around the UK before setting out on a worldwide tour. This production starred accomplished West End actress Jacqui Scott as Evita, with Christopher Corcoran as Che, Michael Bauer in the role of Peron, Adrian Beaumont as Magaldi and Tracy Taylor as the Mistress. Evita originally opened at London’s Prince Edward Theatre on 21 June 1978 and closed on 18 February 1986, after 3,176 performances. It made it’s US debut at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, with a subsequent engagement at the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco, prior to the Broadway opening at the Broadway Theatre on 25 September 1979 where it ran until 26 June 1983, after 1,567 performances and 17 previews.

It was conceived by Tim Rice who Rice suggested the idea of a musical based on the subject to Lloyd Webber, but although the idea of writing a score including tangos, pasos dobles, and similar Latin flavours intrigued him, Lloyd Webber ultimately rejected the idea. He decided instead to collaborate with Alan Ayckbourn on Jeeves, a traditional Rodgers and Hart-style musical based on the P. G. Wodehouse character, which proved to be a critical and commercial failure. After Jeeves, Lloyd Webber returned to Rice, and they began developing Rice’s proposed musical. The musical employs an eclectic range of styles. Classical music in Evita includes the opening choral piece (“Requiem for Evita”) and a choral interlude in “Oh What a Circus”, as well as instrumental passages throughout the musical such as the orchestral version of the “Lament” and the introduction to “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”. Rhythmic Latinate styles are heard in pieces such as “Buenos Aires”, “And the Money Kept Rolling in (And Out)” and “On This Night of a Thousand Stars”, while ballads include “High Flying, Adored” and “Another Suitcase in Another Hall”. Rock music includes “Oh What a Circus”, “Perón’s Latest Flame”, and a song cut from the original production called “The Lady’s Got Potential”. The song was reinstated with revised lyrics by Rice and has also been used in a number of later revivals.

Jacqui Scott shows off her vocal talents


On the stage – for one night only – ROYAL GALA – PRINCE OF WALES – GT ORMOND ST – This hugely successful evening hosted to benefit Great Ormond Street Hospital For Children was atyende by The Ptince Of Wales and was introduced by Robert Hardy. The show featured a cavalcade of stars from tv, cinema and stage including Philip Gould, Keith Barron, Tony Blackburn, Bob Carolgees, Jessica Martin, Billy Pearce, Paddie O’Neil, Alfred Marks, Ruth Madoc, James Smillie, Christopher Beeny, Ross Davidson, Carlos Douglas, Brian Glover, Francis Matthews, Nigel Pivaro, Gary Wilmot, Tim Flavin, Bonnie Langford, Dave Lee, Danielle Carson, Sally Hughes, Nic D’Avirro, David Hopkins, Rachel Izen, Lynda Baron, Josephine Blake, Nichola Treherne, Stephen Beagley, Richard Digance, Helen Shapiro, Paul Nicholas, Gilly Coman, Dr. Evadne Hinge and Dame Hilda Bracket, Celeste Holm, George Carl, Gordon Honeycombe, Janet Brown, Leslie Crowther, Diane Langton, Suzi Quatro, Kenny Lynch and Mike Sterling, The music was provided by Alyn Ainsworth and His Orchestra and the show also featured Alan Harding Dancers, Southampton Musical Society, and The Band of H.M. Royal Marines and Junior Cadet Corps of the Royal Navy.

10th December – CLOSED

Theatre closed for pantomime preparations


On the stage – until February 2, 1990 – JACK AND THE BEANSTALK – Star of JACK AND THE BEANSTALK was Russ Abbot, an English musician, comedian and actor. He first came to public notice during the 1970s as the singer and drummer with the British comedy showband Black Abbots, along with Leonard ‘Lenny’ Reynolds, later forging a prominent solo career as a television comedian with his own weekly show on British television, Russ Abbot’s Madhouse and it was with many of this programme’s concepts that Russ brought tp this version of the traditional pantomime.

Television favourites Bella Emberg and Windsor Davies joined the cast along with choreographer and director of The Russ Abbot show, Tudor Davies as the dame.

See the 1989 tv special which was broadcast during the panto’s run – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTYI1ZIsDwk

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