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“To enter a theatre for a performance is to be inducted into a magical space, to be ushered into the sacred arena of the imagination.” Simon Callow
Acting, Comedy, Dance, Theatre
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Oxford English Dictionary definition "A raised floor or platform,typically in a theatre, on which actors, entertainers or speakers perform"

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Cannon and Ball in Blackpool

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I first saw Cannon and Ball at Manchester's Fagins Nightclub in the late 1960's. They were superb. Bobby Ball entered from the back of the audience, heckling Tommy Cannon, and for a moment we all thought it was for real.....

I first saw Cannon and Ball at Manchester's Fagins Nightclub in the late 1960's.  They were superb.  Bobby Ball entered from the back of the audience, heckling Tommy Cannon, and for a moment we all thought it was for real, until Bobby took to the stage, and we laughed at the clever deception.  They were a powerhouse of a double act.  Physical, verbal, singers, knockabout, the lot.  They also had an edge to them, which they still have today, some 54 years into their careers.  Yes, as they announced, on Friday night, at the Viva Club, Blackpool, they are now the longest running double act in Britain.

This was like a night out of old.  Viva Blackpool - the Vegas Venue of the Coast, is a magnificent relic of the true Northern club - pink and blue strips of light, round tables accommodating up to 10 or 12, where you can meet fellow club goers, all there to watch and appreciate the show.   And what a show!

First, we had the compere, plus 8 singers and dancers, who sang and danced their hearts out, finishing with a rendition of 'Sit Down You're Rockin' The Boat' from Guys and Dolls, a show close to my heart.  Then came; The Harper Brothers - for a moment, I thought I was watching a younger Cannon and Ball, it was only later that I found out they were, in fact, the two sons of Bobby Ball.  Their whole act had all the C&B trademark humour and energy, with some good harmony vocals too, and was a perfect compliment for what was to come.

After the interval, on they came, to a shouting ovation, they were playing to a crowd who loved them.  Why not?  Who wouldn't?  Bobby is still the adorable anarchic lapdog to Tommy's despairing straight laced foil - often with rapier wit, and a voice still rich in tone.  They did it all for us, even a table tennis routine which I hadn't seen before, I don't think.  It all comes so thick and fast, it's not specifics you remember, just the completeness of their finely tuned machine of an act. 

In the tradition of all the past greats, Cannon and Ball are keeping the Variety flag flying, and even if nostalgia rules, there's a lot to learn from the art.  Rock on, Tommy, and Bobby!

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