Raising morale for Hayling debut

CCADS is performing Radio Times at the Hayling Island Station Theatre from June 6-9.
CCADS is performing Radio Times at the Hayling Island Station Theatre from June 6-9.
Richard Digance

A close encounter puts Richard’s career back on the musical path

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A touch of nostalgia is being brought to Hayling Island next week as CCADS performs Radio Times at the Hayling Island Station Theatre from June 6-9.

Set in the heart of the West End in a blitz-torn London, the cast of the BBC light-entertainment wireless show, Variety Bandwagon, prepare to do their bit for the war effort.

Trying to raise morale and bring a smile to the faces of the nation, the troupe of actors perform over the wireless while the bombs drop overhead.

Director John-Paul McCrohon says: ‘It’s a very different musical to a lot that we’ve performed recently because they were more epic, more weighty in a way. We’ve been looking for a while to find a musical where the emphasis is on the comedy.

‘My wife and I saw a revival of the Radio Times last year and by the interval I knew it was a show I wanted to do. We also like to do shows that haven’t been shown in the area before and it’s a very, very funny show with wall-to-wall humour.’

He adds: ‘It’s funny but it’s also very touching.’

Radio Times was performed in the West End with Tony Slattery and was recently revived at The Watermill Theatre, and includes some well-known Noel Gay songs such as Run Rabbit Run, Who’s Been Polishing the Sun?, Hey Little Hen and There’s Something about a Soldier.

John-Paul says: ‘There are some great songs, particularly for an older audience as they will be familiar, but they are also very fresh. There’s an element of nostalgia for the audience who remember that entertainment and that generation.’

It’s the theatre group’s debut on Hayling Island, as John-Paul felt the theatre offered the perfect space to perform a radio recording.

He says: ‘It’s a beautiful little theatre. They were interested in us going over there in June and this just seemed like the perfect show because we want to make the audience feel as though they are watching this radio show being recorded.

‘It feels like they step in and are part of the show, so it’s very exciting.’

They even visited the Criterion Theatre in the West End, where the production is set, to soak up the atmosphere.

John-Paul says: ‘It was in the afternoon and it was great for us as actors to sit in the theatre. It was used as a radio theatre in the Second World War because I think it’s the only theatre in the West End which is entirely underground.’

John-Paul takes the role of Sammy Shaw and is joined by Caroline Westmorland, Tony Dart, Tony Doye, Jonathan Fost, Sean Ridley and Sally Goddard, who was recently seen as Calamity Jane at the Kings Theatre.

They will be joined by an eight-strong team of singers and a live on-stage band.

n Tickets cost £6 to £10 from the Hayling Island Station Theatre on (023) 9246 6663.