1999 July to September

4th July – CLOSED

4th July until 22nd August – The theatre had scheduled a three week closure to enable essential maintenance to be carried out. It had been expected to reopen on 27th July with a summer season of the Shane Richie musical BOOGIE NIGHTS, but a decision was taken to defer the opening until the 23rd August.

23rd August – BOOGIE NIGHTS

On the stage – for TWO weeks – Boogie Nights – is for grown-ups experiencing nostalgia for the ’70s, but makes the mistake of thinking that big production values and a Village People medley can compensate for the flaw at its core. That flaw is Shane Ritchie, a man perhaps best known for conducting the Daz Doorstep Challenge between Danny Baker and Julian Clary (chronologically, not topographically, speaking). This is Ritchie’s show; he knows it, and he makes sure that both we and the rest of the company know it. He likes to share a laugh, and so this becomes his “characterisation”; every speech to the audience and every other speech to another character is punctuated by a hur-hur-hur. He cannot act to speak of, and as a singer he can only belt; when he tackles Elton John’s “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word” (scarred by big power-ballad drums), he sounds like Axl Rose, or at best Bryan Adams. Female lead Sharon Benson has a wonderful voice, but seems a little bored by the proceedings here. Anachronisms litter the show, with many if not most numbers originating appreciably after the very specific periods in which it is supposedly set. And yes, of course this is a sniffy, critics’ response to a show which the audience lapped up. But they deserve more; they deserve the care and consideration, but what they get is principally a bloke onstage who quite likes being onstage. Ho hum.

A medley of hits from the show

11th September – JAGJIT SINGH

Live – one night only – Jagjit Singh – 58 year old Jagjit Singh, popularly known as “The Ghazal King” or “King of Ghazals”, was an Indian Ghazal singer, composer and musician. He sang in numerous languages and is credited for the revival and popularity of ghazal, an Indian classical art form, by choosing poetry that was relevant to the masses and composing them in a way that laid more emphasis on the meaning of words and melody evoked by them. In terms of Indian Classical music, his style of composing and Gayaki (singing) is considered as Bol-pradhan, one that lays emphasis on words. He highlighted this in his music for films such as Prem Geet (1981), Arth (1982) , and Saath Saath (1982). Singh is considered to be the most successful ghazal singer and composer of all time in terms of critical acclaim and commercial success. With a career spanning decades and many albums, the range and breadth of his work has been regarded as genre-defining. Live – one night only – Jagjit Singh58 year old Jagjit Singh, popularly known as “The Ghazal King” or “King of Ghazals”, was an Indian Ghazal singer, composer and musician. He sang in numerous languages and is credited for the revival and popularity of ghazal, an Indian classical art form, by choosing poetry that was relevant to the masses and composing them in a way that laid more emphasis on the meaning of words and melody evoked by them. In terms of Indian Classical music, his style of composing and Gayaki (singing) is considered as Bol-pradhan, one that lays emphasis on words. He highlighted this in his music for films such as Prem Geet (1981), Arth (1982) , and Saath Saath (1982). Singh is considered to be the most successful ghazal singer and composer of all time in terms of critical acclaim and commercial success. With a career spanning decades and many albums, the range and breadth of his work has been regarded as genre-defining.

Singh’s 1987 album, Beyond Time, was the first digitally recorded release in India. He was regarded as one of India’s most influential artists. With sitar player Ravi Shankar and other leading figures of Indian classical music and literature, Singh voiced his concerns over politicisation of arts and culture in India and lack of support experienced by the practitioners of India’s traditional art forms, particularly folk artists and musicians. He lent active support to several philanthropic endeavours such as the library at St. Mary’s School, Mumbai, Bombay Hospital, CRY, Save the Children and ALMA.

Listen to this concert at the Mayflower – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-8HzyUjvfo

12th September – VOULEZ VOUS

Live – on stage – for one night only – VOULEZ VOUS – This concert by VOULEZ-VOUS consists of two hours worth of hits from ABBA. The concert had great lighting and sound and they looked just like ABBA. The line-up was David Victor Monks (Bjorn Ulvaeus) – Guitar; Juliana Hoy (Anni-Frid Lynstad) – Vocals; Joanne Edwards (Agnetha Faltskog) – Vocals; (Peter) Alan Thompson (Benny Andersson) – Piano / Saxophone; Shane Edwards – Keyboards / Synthesisers; Paul Deakin – Drums / Percussion and Tony Forshaw – Bass Guitar.

Hear Voulez Vous perfrom Voulez Vous

13th September – GUMBOOT DANCERS OF SOWETO

Live on stage – for FOUR days – Gumboot Dancers of Soweto – After decades of struggle against the South African apartheid regime, in 1994, for the first time, all races – Black, mixed race, Indian and white – ushered in a government of majority choice headed up by the African National Congress with Nelson Mandela as President. In many ways the struggle was an international one in which certain artists and art forms became recognised as emblematic of the country’s identity. 5 years after the historic event, this programme presents the story of the gumboot dance in the context of such musical emblems.

This company from Soweto in South Africa comprised Vincent Ncabashe (vocal), Thami Nkwanyane (vocal), Samuel “KK” Nene (vocal), Nicholas Nene (vocal), Sipho Ndlela (vocal), Thulu Mkhize (vocal), Lloyd Rathebe (vocal), Brian Muzi Nkosi (vocal), Thabiso Setlhatlole (vocal), Mfana Jones Hlophe (vocal), Dari “Lucky” Thobela (percussion), Tlale Makhene (percussion) and the Rishile Gumboot Dancers of Soweto.

A background piece for the show

17th September – THAT’LL BE THE DAY

On the stage – for one day only – THAT’LL BE THE DAY – During in its initial years, That’ll Be the Day was a seasonal production performed during the spring and autumn months. In 1988, the show became a weekly attraction at Butlins holiday resort in Minehead, Somerset. The following year, the show’s regular dates in Minehead were supported with additional performances throughout the South of England, including Butlins in Bognor Regis and the Portsmouth Pyramids Centre in Southsea. Later in 1989, the first Christmas edition of That’ll Be The Day was performed. Playing chiefly at holiday resorts and clubs, That’ll Be the Day enjoyed increasing popularity during the early 1990s and became an all-year-round production. In 1994, the show made its theatre debut, performing at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury. Shortly afterwards, further interest from theatres culminated in performances at the Princess Theatre, Torquay, the Pavilion Theatre, Ilfracombe, and the Bristol Hippodrome.

In 1995, That’ll Be the Day became firmly established as a theatre show, playing at venues nationwide (including the first of three appearances at The London Palladium). However, the show’s adaptability ensured that theatre dates could still be supplemented with corporate work: following interest from international promoters, the show also played dates in Wales and Scotland during the mid-1990s. Subsequent to the recruitment in 1995 of West End-based promoter, Derek Block, the latter half of the 1990s saw That’ll Be the Day playing increasingly larger theatres and concert halls, as well as the smaller venues in which its reputation had been built. In 1997, the south coast resort of Bournemouth became the principal location for That’ll Be The Day’s summer seasons, the show being performed across eight weeks at the Pavilion Theatre. The 1999 tour was the production’s first visit to Southampton.

A promo video for the show

18th September – RICHARD STILGOE

Live on stage – for one night only – RICHARD STILGOE and PETER SKELLERN. Richard Stilgoe is a British songwriter, lyricist, musician and broadcaster, who is best known for his humorous songs and frequent television appearances. His output includes collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber and as in this concert with Peter Skellern. Stilgoe is also notable for his charitable work and fundraising. In the 1980s he founded the Alchemy Foundation which is funded from his royalties from the American productions of Starlight Express and The Phantom of the Opera. Peter Skellern was an English singer-songwriter and pianist. The use of brass bands and choral arrangements in his music, created a nostalgic and romantic feel, became a trademark. He enjoyed two UK top twenty hits in the 1970s. By 1985 Skellern started a collaboration with Richard Stilgoe in cabaret and in musical comedy with comic songs such as “Joyce the Librarian”. They released three live albums; A Quiet Night Out, By the Wey and Who Plays Wins. This visit to the Mayflower was their first concert at this venue.

Richard Stilgoe and Peter Skellern
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