Last Saturday, I headed to my favourite North East theatre venue, The Customs House to see their new musical, The Dolly Mixtures.
Inspired by a true story, The Dolly Mixtures tells the tale of 8 ordinary women from South Shields with 1 extraordinary story.
When Ken, played by Steve Halliday, was diagnosed with cancer at only 32, his wife and friends set up a variety act, calling themselves The Dolly Mixtures and set about touring the working mens clubs of the North East to raise money for Cancer Research.
Social clubs were a tough audience to crack but soon enough their silly costumes, catchy songs and funny skits were in high demand and netted them donations totalling £100,000 for Cancer Research. They’d originally set out to be able to buy a dart board to make hospital stays for cancer patients that little bit more comfortable but their efforts far surpassed that. The money raised was an amazing achievement, even by todays standards, and something that The Customs House is continuing with collections for the charity after each show.
I don’t need to tell anyone reading this that cancer is a dreadful disease that impacts the lives of far too many but what I think this musical shows is that when you’re living a nightmare, such as your husband or brother being diagnosed with cancer, you can either retract and fall apart or stand up and fight which is what The Dolly Mixtures did. Not only did they show such a strength of character and determination but the power of a bond between friends.
The musical is incredibly well written and will have you crying tears of laughter and sadness in equal proportions. I loved that they shared original images of the Dolly Mixtures as well as photos of the clubs and around the area from years ago. Older members of the audience appreciated this greatly and it was lovely to see them laughing away as they remembered scenes from their own lives.
The Customs House have pretty much put together a dream team with John Miles writing the music, Tom Kelly responsible for book and lyrics and the legendary Ray Spencer as Director along with many more talented individuals behind the scenes.
As you’d expect from a Customs House production, the casting was perfect with each character giving a faultless performance. It was great to see Patricia Whale play the part of Margaret as I have enjoyed her previous performances as part of Encore and The Big Goodbye earlier this year. Of course, it was fantastic to see Angela Hannon cast as Hilda as I’ve seen her in previous performances at The Customs House, such as Dance Across the Tyne, and she always has me smiling and chuckling away.
What is amazing about the show is that everything is created and performed by North East talent, about North East talent, The Dolly Mixtures. Its a show that gives you an immense sense of pride, not only in the spirit of The Dolly Mixtures but in the talent that’s right here in the North East at the little theatre with the big heart!
Going to see The Dolly Mixtures was certainly a great experience from start to finish. The set design and live band were fabulous and I loved the attention to detail with the Dolly Mixture sweets available to purchase before the show and the Dolly Cocktails which certainly packed a punch!
If you do one thing this week, make it attending a performance of The Dolly Mixtures. I’d recommend it to all!
The Dolly Mixtures runs until Saturday and you can book tickets at the Customs House here; theres even a Thursday and Saturday matinee.
I really like going to the theatre so glad to have found someone else who loves a good play. This one sounds right up my street – I hope a production of it comes to Wales.
I love musicals, and have not heard of this one before but will look out for it coming to a theatre near me x
What an amazing story – I love the theatre so I will look out for this.
I haven't been to a live show or musical in forever, I have been dying to go and see Chitty Bang Bang though!
I do enjoy visiting the theatre. This looks like it must have been fun.
Sounds like such an awesome premise for a show. Not that much happens local to me but it's so nice you guys still have date night x
This sounds like a super performance, and how wonderful that you and your husband have regular date nights. Such an important thing to do for relationships, I think.
There no business like show business – in this case it sweet business ;). It look awesome. xx http://www.annanuttall.com
I love that you guys have date night, it's so lovely! The show sounds really great and I love that it showcases local talent, I just wish I lived closer so I could go and see it xxx
The deal of a date night , no matter what is great, good on you guys!Theatre trips are a great way to spend this and looks like you had a good time.Awesome play and a great work.
What a fun date night, love that the food/drink was themed!
Sounds like a wonderful thing to go to – wish I was closer!
This sounds so fantastic! I love going to see not-heard-of musicals like this, especially when they end up being such a fun night out!
Great that you guys make sure that you always have a date night. This sounds like a great show and nice to see that they use local talent!
This sounds like so much fun and I love the sound of the cocktails x
It sounds like such a great night and such a unique musical.
I still haven't been to a single musical since I moved to the UK. Shame on me! And I live close to London so I should really make an effort…Mika | http://www.la-french-connection.com
This sounds like a fab musical. Would love to see this.
Oh my goodness. I would have loved to see something like this.So glad you had such a good time sugar.Great post :)Charlotte x
Sounds like a fun evening! I love going to the theatre, and this sounds like a really good show
What an amazing show, and the original story even more so! I hope they raise loads more money from the performances, and if they ever tour it,I will be there in the audience!
Sounds like a fun packed show! We love visiting the theatre and will definitely keep an eye out for this!
I never heard of Dolly Mixtures, I never been to a musical either. But I am going to Les Miserables in london with my boyfriend and his familiy soon x
I've never been to a musical before, this looks so fun though!Daniella | Freshly Pressed Beauty