tep Back In Time
Grand Theatre, Blackpool
In 1980, comedy duo Cannon and Ball played to a million people around the UK, including a sold-out summer season on Blackpool’s North Pier.
That was before massive arenas – or karaoke bars, MTV, Strictly Come Dancing and tough TV talent show judges, all of which cross the mind while watching this bold summer entertainment.
With its rich heritage of summer variety, the Grand re-invents the tradition with this family-friendly show alternating with a burlesque-themed production. Troupers like Cannon and Ball – headlining both – would concede things are never going to be as they were.
So instead, there’s more than a nod to Las Vegas’s lounge shows.
It’s the type of production that a resort desperate to re-invent itself demands, but as a cabaret, rather than a full theatrical performance that warrants much more staging.
A hard-working team of dancers and an equally professional singer Katie Shepherd, provide the mainstay and variety’s tradition is upheld with performers juggler Romano Frediani and aerialist Shauvana Dana.
Cannon and Ball do what they do so well – and have been doing for 51 years – even if they rush some of the routine. But when it comes to working a house, they have nothing to learn.
The only real lesson here is that variety is not dead, but may be in need of a transplant to a more contemporary setting.
Step Back In Time and Ooh La La run to September 7.