2000 October to December

1st October – DAVID ESSEX

Live – for one day – DAVID ESSEX – made his first record entitled “And the Tears Came Tumbling Down” for the Fontana label in 1965. He then toured with a band called ‘David Essex and the Mood Indigo’ for two years and released a further seven singles in the 1960s. He also recorded two songs, ‘A Rose’ and ‘Leon and John and Billy and Me’ which remain unreleased, but exist as acetates. His first notable acting role aside from small appearances in the films Assault and All Coppers Are… and took the lead in the stage musical, Godspell in 1971 at the age of 23. Two years later, he starred in the film That’ll Be the Day (1973) and recorded his international hit single, the self-penned “Rock On”, in the same year. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. In 1978, he appeared on Jeff Wayne’s concept album, a musical version of The War of the Worlds, as the Artilleryman. In the UK the two-record set remains a bestseller. In the same year, Essex played the character Che in the original production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Evita and his recording of the show’s “Oh What a Circus” reached Number 3.

In 1980 he starred in the motorcycle racing film Silver Dream Racer; and the soundtrack song “Silver Dream Machine” was a Top 5 hit in the UK Singles Chart. Essex, a keen motorcyclist, waived his fee for the then-new 1980 electric start Triumph Bonneville he had contracted to advertise on behalf of the struggling Triumph motorcycle workers’ co-operative.

David‘s appearances at the Mayflower had become a regular part of his tour schedule.

A tv appearance of David Essex


On the stage – for six days – THE ROY ORBISON STORY – There can be few greater challenges in showbusiness than the title role in Bill Kenwright’s hugely popular musical The Roy Orbison Story. Anyone can slick back dyed jet black hair and don the trademark Ray-Ban sunglasses; but very few can reproduce That Voice. One who emphatically can is Damien Edwards, whose uncanny ability to imitate the Texan-born star is captivated packed houses this week at the Mauflower. During his performance of certain great songs you could close your eyes and travel back to the many Orbison performances here when it was the Gaumont.

The success of the performance owed much, of course, to the musical arrangements of the director Keith Strachan, and their near-flawless execution by a six-strong band under musical director Kevin Oliver Jones. The book by Shirley Roden and Jon Miller provides a lucid account of Orbison’s life, successfully avoiding mawkishness over it sadder aspects the death of his beloved wife Claudette (Helen Fisher) in a motorcycle accident, the loss of two of his young sons in a house fire, his own ill-health and early death. We also see the artist’s creative life set against a wider musical background, from his early tours with Patsy Cline (Caroline Deverill) and Bobby Vee (Klaus White), through his sixties’ heyday as a rival to the Beatles, to his final glory days with the Travelling Wilburys.

Damien Edwards recording the Orbison hit, Crying


On the stage – for seven days (not Sun 15th) – ENGLISH NATIONAL BALLET – SWAN LAKE – the year 2000 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the company now known as English National Ballet. Director of the Company Derek Deane decided that it would be fitting for him to restage his hugely succesful arena production of Swan Lake for the traditional proscenium theatre. Having premiered in 1997 at the Royal Albert Hall, it was decided that this adaptation (not down-scaled) should open at the Mayflower ahead of a season at London‘s Coliseum.



Live – one day only – CANCELLED – JULIAN CLARY – a 41 year old English comedian, actor, presenter and novelist. Clary began appearing on television in the mid-1980s. Since then he has also acted in films, television and stage productions. This tour was cancelled ahead of his pantomime appearance as Dandini in Cinderella at Brighton‘s Theatre Royal.

Julian Clary in a year 2000 tv advert

22nd October – DREAM CONCERTS

Live – for one day – DREAM CONCERTS – Another performance in the tribute series of Dream Concerts. This time the show features tribute bands – Boyz Only (for Boyzone) and Step By Step (for Steps). They were good enought to keep the fans happy.

Steps Tribute Band


On the stage – for five days – WELSH NATIONAL OPERA – For the Autumn season WNO brought three operas to the City. Opening on the Tuesday was the ever popular CARMEN, The Sunday Times described this production “As the most gripping they had seen“. It was performed again on Thursday and Saturday evenings. On Wednesday evening Tchaikovsky‘s romantic opera THE QUEEN OF SPADES took to the stage and on Saturday evening a new production of Gluck‘s 18th Century opera ORPEHEUS & EURYDICE was presented.

The overture to Orpheus & Eurydice

31st October – BLOOD BROTHERS

On the stage – for TWO weeks – BLOOD BROTHERS – a musical with book, lyrics, and music by Willy Russell. The story is a contemporary nature versus nurture plot, revolving around fraternal twins Mickey and Eddie, who were separated at birth, one subsequently being raised in a wealthy family, the other in a poor family. The different environments take the twins to opposite ends of the social spectrum, one becoming a councillor, and the other unemployed and in prison. They both fall in love with the same girl, causing a rift in their friendship and leading to the tragic death of both brothers. Russell says that his work was based on a one-act play that he read as a child “about two babies switched at birth … it became the seed for Blood Brothers.”

Originally developed as a school play, Blood Brothers debuted in Liverpool before Russell transferred it to West End for a short run in 1983. The musical won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical and Liverpool‘s Bill Kenwright took it on a year-long national tour playing the Mayflower in August 1987 before returning to the West End in 1988 where it stayed at the Albery Theatre for 3 years, transferring to the Phoenix Theatre in 1991. The revival would go on to run for more than 24 years in the West End, and play more than 10,000 performances.

This was the fifth visit of the show to the Mayflower and in this production Mrs Johnstone was played by Linda Nolan.

Linda Nolan talks about being Mrs.Johnstone

12th November – JETHRO

Live – for one day – JETHRO – is a farmer’s son and was born in 1948 in the village of St Buryan, West Cornwall. After leaving school he worked as a carpenter and after his apprenticeship went to work in a tin mine. Jethro started in show business singing traditional songs in Cornish pubs. At the age of 18, he joined a local operatic society. But he discovered he could get laughs, too, and so became a comic.

Although rarely seen on TV, he sells more than 250,000 theatre seats a year and does a roaring trade on video. His few small-screen outings include The Des O’Connor Show, where he appeared a record nine times, and five appearances on Jim Davidson’s Generation Game, twice to make a Cornish Pasty. He has hosted two shows for West Country ITV station HTV, The Jethro Junction, and in December 2001 appeared in the Royal Variety show in front of the Queen.

Jethro still lives in Cornwall. His passions are his show horses, golf, and rugby, having played prop- forward for Penzance and Newlyn for ten years from 1967. In 1993 Jethro released his first video A Portion of Jethro, which sold nearly 150,000 copies, a success which he has followed up with numerous other titles.

A typical Jethro gag


On the stage – for six days – THE BLUES BROTHERS MEET THE SOUL SISTERS – The producers were able to add this return date to the Mayflower at the end of the tour to replace the cancelled Hot Stuff which was due to open on the 14th for five days. The show had already played the theatre for six days in September and its success gave the management confidence in rebooking the show just 2 months after its original visitors.

See the original listing for 18th September 2000.

14th November – CANCELLED – HOT STUFF

On the stage – for five days – CANCELLED – Billed as ‘the spirit of the disco generation‘ it would feature the best music of the seventies. Based on the Faustus legend, the story of a man who sells his sould to the devil and is retold in songs. Early production issues led to the production being cancelled.

A trailer for a future production


On the stage – for six days – JOSEPH & THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT – Bill Kenwright brought Joseph back to the Mayflower for its seventh visit. This time the cast was ledby Arvid Larsen (Joseph), and included Vivienne Carlyle (Narrator), Tim Goodman (Jacob/Potiphar), Trevor Jary (Pharaoh/Simeon), Annabelle Dalling (Mrs Potiphar/Handmaiden), Ben Harlow (Reuben/Butler), Russell Hicken (Napthali/Baker) and Ryan Keeton (Issachar/Pharoah).

A recording of Arvid Larsen in Rebecca

28th November – ANNIE

On the stage – for two weeks – ANNIE – is a Broadway musical based upon the popular Harold Gray comic strip Little Orphan Annie, with music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and book by Thomas Meehan. The original Broadway production opened in 1977. It won 7 Tony Awards, including the Tony Award for Best Musical and premiered in the West End at the Victoria Palace Theatre on May 3, 1978. The musical’s songs “Tomorrow” and “It’s the Hard Knock Life” are among its most popular musical numbers.

The show was revived at the Victoria Palace, running from September 30, 1998, to February 28, 1999. It starred Lesley Joseph as Miss Hannigan and Kevin Colson as DaddyWarbucks. This is the production that came to the Mayflower and marked the third professional production of the show to visit Southampton; there had been an SMS amateur production earlier at the Gaumont.

the promotioanl reel for the show


22nd December 2000 – On the stage – until 21st January 2001 – SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS – The first pantomime of the new millenium was big, featuring one of the biggest stars and reluctant pantomome performer Paul O‘Grady also known as Lily Savage. Paul‘s alto-ego, Lily, began her career as a pub and club entertainer, where she worked for years, building her audience and honing her talent. Lily moved from South London’s Royal Vauxhall Tavern to the London Palladium, sharing the bill with Victoria Wood in 1993 and appearing there in her own show in 1994. In June 1995 Lily took over as the Big Breakfast’s celebrity interviewer and became known to millions as the ‘Queen of the Boudoir’. Since then Lily has graced (and indeed disgraced) many a famous television sofa – from Richard and Judy’s to Des O’Connor’s. She has also hosted her own television series – Life Swaps for BBC2 and the cult hit – Live From The Lilydrome for Granada.

In November 1996 Lily performed in front of a celebrity audience for the hilarious hour-long ITV special An Evening With Lily Savage. The show attracted over 12 million viewers and was entered for the Montreaux Festival ’97 by ITV Network. The show went on to win the award for ‘Most Popular Entertainment Programme’ at the National Television Awards in October 1997 followed by the ‘Best Entertainment Programme’ Award at the British Comedy Awards in December 1997. Lily enjoys popping up on kids’ TV, ranging from Bang Bang Chicken on the popular kids’ programme Pirates, to looning on The Ant And Dec Show. Other television work includes: Top Of The Pops, That’s Showbusiness, Clive James, Des O’Connor, Co-host on Smash Hits Poll Winners Party ’96, Late License, The Steve Wright Show, The New Statesman and Brookside. The Lily Savage Variety Show broke box-office records in Blackpool and ended its four-month run at the beginning of November. Lily returned to more sell-out nights in Blackpool, this time in the 3,000 seater Opera House with Lily’s Christmas Cracker which ran raucously through Christmas and New Year. In November 1997 Lily was voted ‘Best Comedian/Comedienne’ by readers of Smash Hits and then went on to be awarded ‘BBC TV Personality of 1997’ by the Variety Club of Great Britain.

During 1998 Lily appeared in a sell-out nationwide tour which started on the 2nd September in Bournemouth and finished 7th November in Liverpool. Adding to her awards, Lily won TV Quick awards for ‘Funniest Person on TV ’98’ and ‘Best Gameshow ’98’ for Blankety Blank. Lily went on to play Miss Hannigan in Annie at the Victoria Palace Theatre which ran from 15th December 1998 until 7th February 1999. In 1999 Lily did panto in Birmingham (The Hippodrome, appearing as the Wicked Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Then in 2000, Lily returned to the theatre for her cherished role as the Wicked Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton that would break box office records.

Starring alongside Lily was former athletics hero Kriss Akabusi as Muddles and Sherrie Hewson (Maureen in Coronation Street) – who plays the Nurse in the show – who had seen the production last year and was astounded by how good it was.

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