My mother Mary (née Sutton) used to sing and appeared on many Portsmouth stages.
She met several well-known acts of the 1930s and 1940s and had a voice not unlike Deanna Durbin.
She used to tell me that if a show was a triumph on a Portsmouth stage, it was guaranteed to succeed in the West End of London.
It seems that at that time Portsmouth audiences were so diverse, with people from all over the British Empire attending shows around the city, they seemed to know what was good and what was bad.
I was born too late to appreciate what my mother told me, but it appears that in 1940 The Apache being staged at the Hippodrome in Commercial Road was on to a winner at is was about to open at the London Palladium.
The star of the show was Dorothy Ward, a popular comedienne, singer and panto star of the time.
She specialised in panto as principal boy while her husband, Shaun Glenville, would play the dame.