Review: Cannon & Ball rock on in The Dressing Room

Bobby Ball
Bobby Ball

On a starry, starry night of entertainment, evergreen double act Cannon & Ball won a standing ovation and singing siblings The Proclaimers performed to a sell-out crowd.

Two big draws in one night are a rare occurrence in Chesterfield and the audience got their money’s worth at the Pomegranate this evening (Saturday, August 6).

Bobby Ball’s creation The Dressing Room was a night of pure nostalgia, reminiscent of the much-missed Aquarius nightclnb where 43 years ago Cannon and Ball performed their first show in town.

It’s incredible to think this pair have been entertaining audiences for 54 years now - and that people keep laughing at sketches and jokes that they trotted out years ago. Their imaginary ping-pong game, Bobby’s trademark red braces stretched to breaking point, his catchphrases of ‘Rock on Tommy’ and ‘You Little Liar’ never losing their appeal.

Tommy’s voice hasn’t lost any of its power as he showed in the solo This Life before the pair’s heart-warming finale, Through The Years, about their time together.

Support act Johnnie Casson, a familiar face at the Aquarius in its heyday, shared good, old-fashioned humour raising plenty of laughs without resorting to swear words or being offensive. Jokes about Blackpool, his family and Yorkshire were rattled off with consummate ease from a master comedian.

Stu Francis played the show’s golden-suited camp compere, Billy Tents, whose immortal catchphrase Life Is For Laughing Not Just For Living and his exaggerated mouthing of I Love You to the audience brought the house down.

Parts of the show had a pantomime feel as Tommy wore a ridiculous black wig, there were missed cues and ad-libs and the audience broke out into a chant of Bobby, Bobby.

The characters were introduced through scenes in their dressing room. Billy Tents tugged the heart-strings as he talked to himself in the mirror, bemoaning that all he had to show for years on stage was a bedsit and a bottle of whisky for comfort while Johnny Laugh (played by Johnnie Casson) made his entrance looking miserable and clutching an urn full of ashes.