Saturday, 1 August 2009

The Friends Of The Devonshire Park Theatre 25th Anniversary Garden Party

Saturday 1st August 2009

Opened by the cast members of
Last Of The Summer Wine
"The Moonbather"

Ruth Madoc
Tony Adams
Harry Dickman

If there's one thing you cannot rely on in this "Green and pleasant land" it's the weather.

This is one of the biggest events of the year for the Friends Of The Devonshire Park Theatre(FDPT) in Eastbourne and it all started so promisingly.

In beautiful surroundings at Selmeston near Eastbourne. a setting kindly provided by a family very happy to support a good cause, the event kicked off at 11.30am.

Ruth Madoc, Tony Adams, Harry Dickman - stars of Last Of The Summer Wine - The MoonbatherIt wasn't exactly a typical summer's day but it was at least dry and very mild. Everybody just tried to pretend the ominous black clouds in every direction weren't there.

I don't know what the usual attendance levels are for the FDPT garden parties but the two separate "arenas" soon became very well occupied. Not just with the members of the FDPT but also a lot of people who had seen the event publicized by flyers and heard about it by word of mouth.

Whether they were attracted by the attendance of some very friendly celebrities, the lovely setting or the other attractions is anybody's guess but for the first couple of hours attendance level appeared very good indeed.

Former Hi-De-Hi star Ruth Madoc opened the show at 12pm accompanied by fellow, Last Of The Summer Wine, stage show stars Tony Adams and Harry Dickman.
A very busy food area in the FDPT 25th anniversary garden partyRuth congratulated the "Friends" on their 25th anniversary and mentioned that alongside stars like Amanda Holden she will be in a new sitcom called Big Top next year. She also expressed a hope that the weather would hold out for the day (the word jinx comes to mind).

Highlight of the day for me had to be finding that just by a chance remark I made Tony Adams told me had read my review of Last Of The Summer Wine and thoroughly enjoyed it - he even agreed that Harry Dickman (who is such a modest man) is the star of the show and had been trying to tell him as much. That's the second "honour" I've had recently with the singer Andy Abraham sending my full show review out to all his email subscribers - that was a nice suprise too.

After spending some time signing autographs and posing for photos the celebs had to rush back to Eastbourne for the matinee performance of "The Moonbather".

Hopefully in the first couple of hours the Friends raised a good deal of money for the Devonshire Park Theatre. Certainly the food area was packed and the raffles, tombolas and various fun and game stalls appeared to be reasonably busy.

Whilst many people ate their lunch in the "food arena" the Royal British Legion Concert Band serenaded them with a variety of tunes.

The Sea Gypsies Belly Dancers From EastbourneAround 1.30 the Sea Gypsies, Eastbourne's popular Belly Dancing team, took to the lawn.

They really are very colourful and extremely talented. However the first dance must have been some sort of modern rain dance as at the end of it the heaven's opened.

However as the saying goes "the show must go on" and they carried on with an impressive selection of dance routines despite the deluge.

At the end they probably felt more like Sea Dripsies than Sea Gypsies but all credit to them for carrying on regardless and keeping the audience entertained.

I'm more than happy to give The Sea Gypsies a plug so you can find the website here for booking enquiries.

Thank goodness for that relatively dry first couple of hours because the weather was not set to improve for the rest of the afternoon.

The Eastbourne Royal British Legion Concert BandCredit must also go to the Band who carried on playing throughout the afternoon. Fortunately a couple of spare gazebos were found to squeeze them all under to provide some shelter. A band leader with a sense of humour did not miss the opportunity to play hits like "singing in the rain".

Sadly no matter how much people wanted to stay longer for the other attractions of the garden party it is inevitable that many literally reached "saturation point" when it came to the amount of rain they were prepared to try and absorb.

Visitor numbers did drop quite rapidly after 2pm despite the fact this was scheduled to run until 4.30pm.

The performance of the Eastbourne Scottish Pipe Band was brought forward from 3.45pm to about 3.15pm but many decided to watch their full rehearsal in the car park rather than get any wetter for the actual performance.

I have to admit that having sheltered under many a tree for a very long time we decided at around 3.15 that we too were now as wet as we could possibly bare and it really was time to call it a day.

So I apologise to the Eastbourne Scottish Pipe Band that we too only got to see your car park tune-up. But I am sure the main show was just as impressive and the least I can do is link to your site for enquiries

Despite the British weather I hope the first few hours were successful for the FDPT especially as a lot of hard work had gone into the preparation.

Perhaps, on the law of averages, the sun will decide to shine on the next event?

I'll finish by returning to the celebrities who kindly gave up their time to support this event.

Readers in the Bradford area, whatever you do, don't miss the chance to see Tony Adams in Jack and The Beanstalk at the Alhambra Theatre. There is nothing like a dame eh Tony?

Harry Dickman I believe is also in panto this year but although I've Googled to death I can't find out where. If I can get this information I'll post a link.

Last but not least I understand Ruth Madoc is having a panto-free-year but don't forget to look out for that sitcom, Big Top.
Print This Entry

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you in advance for your show comment or feedback