Ricky Tomlinson’s Royle Variety Show

Ricky Tomlinson
Ricky Tomlinson
Ricky Tomlinson

There are times in our lives when we realise we have moved further away from our childhoods. This happened last night, 24 May 2013, at the Grand Theatre Blackpool.

Having watched many a show here, this great old theatre is right up there with the best in the country. Last night’s Ricky Tomlinson’s Royle Variety Show was a true step back in time, to the many wonderful variety shows that played their part in the deep, rich history of this building. And that’s  the problem.

The audience loved the show. Each act came and went to loud applause, even the magician. Ricky played compare with tales from the world of celebrity, keeping the viewers amused while the next act prepared. All the singers choose tunes that fitted the bill, from Rock ‘n’ Roll to Swing, every note delighting those around me. Tom O’Connor and Bobby Davro had them laughing out loud and a young juggler made them gasp with amazement at his undoubted skill.

But it was all too old school, too dated, too aimed at the older audience. Some love the idea of variety shows, going to the theatre to see comedy, music, dance and speciality.  The technically brilliant magician was a master of his craft,  but it’s not going to win over a new audience.

These shows have a place and are very important to the development of the next generation of talent coming through, however,  is right to teach them to be 70’s acts? It needs to be mixed up a bit. The young acts should look like and be appealing to young people. Still have Tom O’Connor, making people happy with his amusing stories, (and I hope he wasn’t to badly hurt after a bit of a fall), but have the young singers dazzle us with modern dance routines and up-to-date music.

There is room for this type of show, and applause to Ricky Tomlinson for making the effort to bring them back, but when the newest martial and most cutting edge risqué performance comes from the first half of Bobby Davro’s set, you know something else has to happen.

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