Blogger Trish Burgess writes for the Free Press
“On Mother Kelly’s Doorstep, down Paradise Row...”
My mum was singing this old Music Hall song on stage in our local community hall in Newcastle in 1971.
She was only a few lines into it when a little voice in the front row decided to join in. That little voice belonged to me. I was only seven at the time, but was so used to hearing the tunes at home that I was compelled to sing along, oblivious to the fact that the audience were silent.
My mum, taken aback hearing her daughter’s voice singing along with her, became rather choked and couldn’t continue.
One of the stewards, noticing that my foot was all bandaged (an accident involving repeated forward rolls and a glass door...but that’s another story) picked me up and placed me on the edge of the stage. We continued the song as a duet.
Realising I was so keen, the group my mum sang with, the Merry Mums, asked if I would like to join them for future performances that summer. I was given the role of ‘the little mouse with clogs on’ for their rendition of ‘A Windmill in Old Amsterdam’.
I had to stand at the side of the stage, in grey leotard, tail and tap shoes, and shuffletapstamp my way through the song. I think my love of performing started at that moment.
I was thinking of this when I popped along to Moulton Community Centre a few weeks ago to see St Nicolas Players present Music Hall Memories.
What a fabulous evening’s entertainment which went down a storm with the audience. The best bit? Being given permission to join in. No wonder it had been hard for me to stay quiet all those years ago: the whole idea of Music Hall is that it is meant to be a shared experience.
Sitting in the second row, with a song sheet, I could sing along with some of the numbers that were part of my mother’s repertoire, ‘Hold Your Hand Out, Naughty Boy’ and ‘Who Were You With Last Night?’ without causing any disturbance because, all around me, everyone else was belting out the tunes too.
Music Hall Memories was so successful in Moulton and I’ve heard that St Nicolas Players will be taking their show to other venues in the local area.
If you want to be transported back to the Victorian and Edwardian era with some joyous songs, dazzling costumes and lots of silly jokes, give it a try when it comes to your town or village.
I promise you, it’s a lot of fun. And if you see an excitable middle-aged woman singing a bit louder than everyone else, just pick her up and place her on the edge of the stage. She’ll be no trouble.
You can follow Trish on Twitter @mumsgoneto and read her blog at www.mumsgoneto.blogspot.com