Brilliant to be presenting this as the finale of The London Song Festival on 11th December. Thank you for allowing me the honour to create this specially commissioned work. The performance will then be broadcast on Saturday 12th September at 7pm via the LSF YouTube Chanel.
Tickets available for the live performance on The London Song Festival website:
Written & Directed by David Slattery-Christy
Musical Director : Nigel Foster
Choreography : Aimee Leigh
Music by Ivor Novello and Noel Coward
Rosemary Ashe as Dorothy Dickson
Rebecca Louise Dale as Mary Ellis
Fenton Gray as Ivor Novello
Justina Kehinde as Elisabeth Welch
BBC Announcer: Steve Royle
Sound Effects: David Brown
By Arrangment With The Ivor Novello Estate & The Coward Estate
Delighted to announce that Naturally Insane! The Life of Dan Leno will have a West End showcase of Monday 27th April at 7.30pm at the beautiful Criterion Theatre on Piccadilly Circus.
Starring Steve Royle as Dan Leno and guest star Roy Hudd OBE as Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
With Neil Rowland as Henry Galvin, Nicole Violet as Lydia Leno, Andy Cooke as Doctor Savage & Lou Steggalls as Nurse Kelly.
Written and Directed by David Slattery-Christy. Music-Hall Direction by Debble Flitcroft. Original Choreopgraphy by Debra Smyth. Sound Design by David Brown. Set by Graham Greenwood. Costumes by Gillian Wood and UK Productions Costume Hire. Design & Artwork by Ed Christiano of Deeper Blue Ltd.
What an exciting end to this leg of our tour of Dan Leno – A Royal Jester! starring Steve Royle.It was brilliant to have comedian Peter Kay in the audience and for him to take the time to meet the cast backstage afterwards.
It has been brilliant and the audiences we have had across the country have been fantastic – as have the reviews. We were thrilled to have the legend that is Roy Hudd OBE in the audience at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre in Eastbourne.
“A play that captures the heart and soul and genius of our greatest Victorian comedian, Dan Leno ‘The Funniest Man on Earth’. His triumphs, his sorrows, his unfulfilled dreams and his fulfilled disasters. It is beautifully cast and played, very moving and, best of all, it is very funny. Steve Royle as Leno is a revelation – a master comic playing a master comic.” Roy Hudd OBE
Our final review for Lytham Hall was very much appreciated as well:
Dan Leno, A Royal Jester Lytham Hall
“A standing ovation on a glorious summer evening at Lytham Hall was a tribute to the power of the writing by David Slattery-Christy and a simply outstanding performance by Steve Royle. Set in Camberwell asylum at the end of Leno’s life the play explores the mental confusion of the Victorian Music Hall star Dan Leno, now unable to distinguish his stage persona from his real self. Steve Royle displays complete mastery of every type of physical and verbal comedy, brilliantly portraying Leno as extrovert, vulnerable, irascible and child-like all at the same time.
The music hall turns are the highlights, particularly the Beefeater sketch where Royle exploited the open-air setting to dragoon two of the audience on a walk through the picnickers.
Andy Cooke, Nicole Violet and Lou Steggals as his doctor, wife and nurse help to explore and explain Leno’s mental muddle, whilst Neil Rowland as his somewhat spiky brother is excellent. The pantomime scene at the end is a pleasing enhancement since the play’s premiere at last year’s Lytham Festival and the presence of Peter Kay, incognito amongst the audience, suggested that this funny yet poignant show is something very special. Next stop, London’s West End next year.”
Blackpool Gazette / Lancashire Evening Post / Lytham St Annes Express
Joseph Coyne & Lily Elsie in The Merry Widow 1907
Thank you to all those who attended the unveiling of the Blue Plaque for Edwardian actress Lily Elsie (1886-1962) on Friday 16th August at her former London home at Stanhope Place, Hyde Park. It really was a lovely, special morning in honour of one of London theatre’s greatest stars of the early 20th Century. Special thanks to West End actress and soprano Rosie Ashe for officiating and Roy Hudd OBE and his lovely wife Debbie for their support. Thanks also to Geoff Bowden and his partner David, Victoria Willis and her daughter Flora, Robert Smith my agent, Raymond Langford Jones, Lynn Nortcliff, Mark Abrahams, Peter for taking the official pictures and Dimitri Paleocrassas the current owner of the building. We did Lily Elsie (1886-1962) proud indeed! Graham & I were delighted.
David Slattery-Christy, Rosemary Ashe and Roy Hudd OBE
Thank you for a lovely write up, Raymond Langford Jones I’ve just spent a fabulous couple of hours at a special event organised by David Slattery-Christy celebrating the life of Edwardian beauty and singer Lily Elsie (1886-1962) – the unveiling of a blue plaque at her old London home in Stanhope Place, near Marble Arch.
Rosemary Ashe, currently appearing in The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 and 3/4 at the Ambassadors, gave a charming speech conveying the essence of the great star of the Edwardian stage and original Merry Widow – who was also a good friend of Ivor Novello. Both personalities, famous during their own champagne-supper times, may now be only glamorous photo images in coffee table books for today’s theatre-goers, so we have David to thank for helping keep their spirits alive in his biographies – and by instigating memorials such as this.
The event was also opportunity to chat to the warm, ever-youthful Roy Hudd, presently touring in Dominic Dromgoole’s production of A Woman of No Importance where he’s covering the entr’actes with period numbers in his own inimitable manner. He’s a Croydon boy, so we had lots in common there. I mentioned how I’d always loved the News Huddlines and how June Whitfield was the best ‘Maggie Thatcher’. This led on to him telling me how she had landed the job, by nailing the PM in an informal impersonation and obliterating initial concerns as to her suitability for the show.
We went on to decry the death of intimate revue in the ’60s, and how its requirement for versatility had once provided a wonderful training ground for emerging actors of an earlier generation, including Kenneth Williams and Maggie Smith.
Rosie Ashe is another, albeit somewhat younger, performer who has kept a high West End profile down the decades thanks to her adaptability and upbeat personality. Thirty years ago I remember seeing her as Hortense in The Boy Friend at The Albery in St Martin’s Lane and, during the run, also surprised to find her on a night away from Nice, as the ‘breeches’ role in Richard Strauss’s Arabella at the Coliseum across the road. She was marvellous in both.
Rosie was also one of the best things in The Witches of Eastwick (for which she gained an Olivier Award nomination as Best Supporting Performance in a Musical) and is now sharing a dressing room with Ian Talbot in the cramped backstage conditions of the frantic Mole set-up. She drew a hilarious picture of how, each night after the show, they relax in their underwear swiging back cans of G&T!
What both actors agreed on, was how longevity in the theatre can, in part, be due to getting on with people and being willing to turn your hand to anything that’s offered. Professionalism in other words. And, of course, there’s that indefinable ‘star quality’ which they both possess in abundance.
Thank you, David, for a fascinating time!
Raymond Langford-Jones, Victoria Willis, Flora Willis, Roy Hudd OBE, David SLattery-Christy, Lynn Nortcliff, Dimitri Paleocrassas, Mark Abrahams, Robert Smith, Debbie Hudd.
Thank you Eastbourne and The Royal Hippodrome Theatre!
What a fabulous audience we had at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre in Eastbourne – a standing ovation for Steve Royle and the cast. Were also delighted to discover that the legend Roy Hudd was in the audience along with his lovely wife, Debbie. They met all the cast afterwards and were full of praise for the play which was a real accolade indeed. It was the icing and the cherry on the cake!
Thanks also to everyone at the British Music Hall Society for their help and for allowing us to follow your Day by the Sea event to make it a Weekend by the Sea of music hall! Thanks also to Alex and all the brilliant back stage staff and front of house gang at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre for making us so welcome and supporting us so wonderfully.
Lou Steggals, Steve Royle, Nicole Violet,
Andy Cooke & Neil Rowland
Roy Hudd & Steve Royle
Neil Rowland, Roy Hudd, Debbie Hudd & Steve Royle
Royal Hippodrome ready for Dan Leno – Andy Cooke & Roy Hudd
Roy Hudd with Playwright David Slattery-Christy & Steve Royle
What a brilliant time we had at the the Stratford Playhouse performing Dan Leno – A Royal Jester! The audiences were amazing as was the venue and all the staff including Rebecca, Phil and Noel. Thank you for making us so very welcome.
There was plenty there to leave you thinking about what it means to be human.” Dave Blacker
Delighted to have joined Sally Naden on her BBC Radio Lancashire on Tuesday 17th April. Steve Royle and I talked about Dan Leno – A Royal Jester! and the upcoming world premiere at this year’s Lytham festival. Performance dates are 18 to 22 July. Wed to Sat evenings at 7.30 and Fri and Sun matinees at 2pm. Tickets now available – just follow the link at below –
Tickets now available. Click on above image. Add the Promo Code LYTHAMFEST or STEVEROYLE and get a £2 discount on your booking! Limited offer so book now!
There was plenty there to leave you thinking about what it means to be human.” Dave Blacker