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Norfolk Tourism Awards

Comedy legends Cannon and Ball star in The Dressing Room at the Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe, this Friday

PUBLISHED: 16:29 01 August 2018 | UPDATED: 16:32 01 August 2018

Cannon and Ball appear in The Dressing Room Picture: PAUL COLTAS

Cannon and Ball appear in The Dressing Room Picture: PAUL COLTAS

Coltas Design & Photography Ltd

Earning standing ovations across the country, Bobby Ball’s The Dressing Room stops by Felixstowe’s Spa Pavilion this Friday.

Part play, part variety show it’s set behind the scenes of a run-down theatre and stars him and his long-term comedy partner Tommy Cannon who find themselves caught up in the crazy goings-on of compère Stu Francis, comedian Johnnie Casson and Anne Marie.

Q: The show’s being going down well?

It’s a good show... we’ve all known each other for well over 35 years... it helps... we don’t have to prove anything to anybody we just have a good laugh on stage, we enjoy each other’s company.

Q: Hoe did you come up the idea?

What nobody seems to know is what happens in a dressing room really. What we’ve done on stage is built a set that’s half dressing room, half stage. We go into the dressing room and we start talking and doing the play, then Stu says “I’m going to introduce you”. We do 20 minutes of the act and then we come back into the dressing room and the play carries on. We’ve called it a “playrity” because it’s a play and a variety show.

Q: You’ve worked so many theatres over the years, is any of it autobiographical?

No, it’s just what happens in a dressing room. If a performer goes on, then they come off, often there’s somebody else in the dressing room and they ask “what are the audience like tonight” and the audience know we’re talking about them. I wanted to keep it as a play because I’ve never done that before, I wanted to try it. I went to my friends and said “listen, I’ve wrote this, do you want a go at it” and they said “yeah”, they’ve all jumped in.

I’ve wrote three books, a cartoon series for the BBC, wrote children’s books but never wrote a play and I had an idea of a dressing room and going on stage out of the dressing room on stage and it’s worked; everybody really enjoys it.

Q: Were you surprised how popular it’s been?

You get a feeling inside. I knew it would work. We’ve been doing it for four years... with this I get a rush. Next year we’re going to take another one out that I’ve written, same theme, it’s called Rock off Tommy.

Q: I remember watching you and Tommy at Great Yarmouth when I was a kid. It was so windy, afterwards the police had to escort us back up the pier. I remember clutching a pen my parents had bought me with your names on. It just says annon and bar now because I’ve used it so much.

Very good [laughs]. That’s wonderful. The only thing wrong with theatres at the end of piers is when it gets to autumn you’ve got to walk down the pier at the end of the night, they nearly blow you off every one of them.

Q: You and Tommy have performed together so long, what’s the secret?

Fifty-five years... I don’t know what it is with me and Tom, when we go out on stage we just gel, it’s fantastic. I can call him an idiot but nobody else can if you know what I mean. If anybody starts I tell ‘em “eh don’t you call Tommy...” We go back that far, Stu, who did Crackerjack, we knew him working when he was 18.

Q: I’m a huge fan of your 1982 film The Boys in Blue, in which you star as two policemen facing the closure of their sleepy station and find yourselves trying to thwart art thieves making off with a valuable painting. Any chance of a sequel?

I don’t think so, not now [laughs], we should’ve done one. The theme tune “we’re the boys in blue, a woo a woo woo” well I wrote that theme tune with a friend of mine. The reason we went “woo a woo woo” was because we couldn’t think of any other words. The record person said “you sound like a police siren” so I said “right, we’ll keep it in”.

Q: Why should people see The Dressing Room?

It’s a light-hearted night. They’ll enjoy the play and the variety show, they’ll have a wonderful time and if they want to meet us after they can do. They’ll have a real great laugh, I promise you.

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