Rotarians, their guests & members of the public were treated to an evening of old-style music hall gaiety on the 2nd February – ‘Down at the Old Bull & Bush”!
The event was set in December 1918, just after the end of the First World War, at The Old Bull & Bush on Hampstead Heath - the pub made famous by music hall entertainer Florrie Forde with the renowned music hall song ‘Down at The Old Bull and Bush’. (Of course, in reality it was held at Simon Langton Boys Grammar School in Canterbury.)
The sing-along show starred the Lindley Players from Whitstable, who teamed up with our Club to reprise their sell-out pre-Christmas music hall production, ‘The Old Bull & Bush’. In the show ‘The locals’ and some East End visitors were having a right old knees-up, celebrating the end of The Great War. The country had gone through considerable suffering, loss and turmoil during the War, so it was great for the folk to have a chance to enjoy themselves with a hearty sing-song.
The stage was set out with pub tables and chairs, with the folk at the pub – dressed in suitable attire – enjoying a drink with friends. The East End visitors included pearly kings and queens, resplendent in their mother-of-pearl-buttoned costumes, while in the backdrop a large screen displayed the lyrics so that audience members who wanted to join in could do so. The musical repertoire included 'Knees up Mother Brown', 'Pack All your Troubles' and, naturally, 'Down at the Old Bull & Bush'. In between there was plenty of hilarity and a good, ol’ fashioned atmosphere with the Landlord and the locals well played by the actors - it certainly warmed up a cold winter’s evening!
Audience members got into the spirit of the event, and it was delightful to see that some of our Rotarians, notably Robert Temple and Nan Miller, had dressed up in costumes. Robert was looking dapper, and as a Cockney by birth (born within earshot of Bow Bells, so entitled to a few pearl buttons of his own) he wouldn’t have been out of place on stage!
Speaking before the event Canterbury Rotary Club President, Margaret Griffin said: “It’s a real coup being able to work with the Lindley Players to raise money for local and Rotary Charities in such an entertaining way. This Edwardian Music Hall production is a fun show full of music and laughs.” She added: “Rotary’s purpose is to serve the community by raising money and doing good works, but we like to have fun at the same time!”
Our Club would like to thank all those who came along and made the evening such a success, the performers, and those who helped behind the scenes.
The Lindley Players are an amateur theatre group who own and run the Playhouse, Whitstable. They are always looking for new members. To find out more, click the following:
Picture: Sing-along “Down at the Old Bull & Bush” with the Lindley Players. Picture credit: Louise & Stephen Thomson/Rotary Club of Canterbury.