– Headlining the summer show at the Hippodrome Theatre, Eastbourne, which ran for five months and was presented every Tuesday and Wednesday evening from the first week of May through to the end of September
A railway station is the nostalgic setting for a variety summer show starring comedian Jimmy Cricket.
The Belfast-born funnyman has since May been appearing in Sentimental Journey to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre in Eastbourne, East Sussex.
The story goes that a train has broken down at the Royal Hippodrome station so, while everyone waits for it to be repaired, the station master and “the man from head office” arrange some entertainment to keep people amused.
It transports the audience back to an era when a small company of talented individuals would sing, dance and tell jokes.
The host for the evening is the singer Mike Lee, who plays the train’s inspector, and at the start of the show he bumps into the train’s conductor – none other than the talented impressionist Barry Moon.
Jimmy Cricket said: “Both Barry and Mike are also the show’s producers and they have done a great job at putting this show together.”
The Showtime Dancers in Sentimental Journey are Nick, Jo, Lauren and Janine.
Also appearing are world-renowned tribute acts Colin Gold and Tracy Lea.
Colin, who starred on ITV’s Stars in Their Eyes, has gone on to become one of the most experienced and acclaimed Billy Fury acts in the world. Halfway to Paradise was one of Fury’s best-known songs.
Connie Francis’ greatest hits included Who’s Sorry Now, Lipstick on Your Collar and Stupid Cupid. Tracy also appeared on Stars in Their Eyes, a British television talent show screened on Saturday nights from 21 July 1990 to 23 December 2006 in which contestants impersonated showbiz stars.
Jimmy, Colin and Tracy recently appeared live in Eastbourne on ITV’s breakfast show, Daybreak.
* Performances for Sentimental Journey are at 8.15 each Tuesday and Wednesday night throughout the summer. Tickets cost £12 and £17 – go here for more information.
Jimmy Cricket met up with an old friend while appearing in his summer show on the south coast.
The famous comedian is currently starring in Sentimental Journey, the family extravaganza running at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre in Eastbourne, East Sussex, every Tuesday and Wednesday evening until 26 September.
And it was there he caught up with Jacqui Ridler (formerly Jacqui Munroe) whom Jimmy has known since the 1970s.
They first met when Jimmy worked the holiday park circuit in Torbay where Jacqui was a Bluecoat.
Jacqui herself is from Torquay and her mum ran a hotel in the resort for a long time. In fact, Jimmy stayed at the hotel in 1994 when he was appearing at the Festival Theatre in Paignton.
She now lives in Eastbourne with her husband and thought she should pop along and catch up with Jimmy.
The Irish funnyman larked about for the cameras with his trademark wellies (on the wrong feet of course). His jovial banter lit up the huge all-weather tennis centre situated at Cross Levels Way, Eastbourne.
Sentimental Journey is a traditional, family friendly variety show, which has been playing at the delightful ‘hidden gem’ of a theatre since May. Audiences and critics have been enjoying the show and delighting in Jimmy’s hilarious routines which feature an array of ridiculous props, stories and jokes.
And “there’s more” as the cast also includes music from Colin Gold as Billy Fury, Tracey Lea as Connie Francis with comedy from Mike Lee and Barry Moon, plus the Showtime Dancers.
Tickets are priced at £17 – to book call the box office on 01323 412000 or go online here.
Eastbourne Sports Park is a collaborative project between Eastbourne Borough Council, East Sussex County Council, Sussex Downs College, Park College and Sport England.
Here are two articles marking Jimmy Cricket’s arrival for his summer show in Eastbourne.
The Belfast-born comedian is appearing in a variety show, Sentimental Journey, to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre in Eastbourne, East Sussex, from 1 May to 26 September.
Also appearing are fellow comedians Barry Moon and Mike Lee, world-renowned tribute acts Colin Gold and Tracy Lea – who perform as Billy Fury and Connie Francis respectively – and the Show Time Dancers.
The article above is from the Eastbourne Herald on 27 April and below from the Sussex Express (same date).
Irish comedian Jimmy Cricket suffered more than just a bit of car trouble only 48 hours before he was due to begin his summer show in Eastbourne.
The vehicle which he and his wife May use for travelling to entertainment venues all over the UK was extensively damaged during bad weather near their home in Rochdale.
“We had a good opening night in Eastbourne, although two days before on the Sunday heavy winds brought a tree down on top of our car which was parked outside the house on the edge of Healey Dell Nature Reserve,” said Jimmy.
“It was a write-off and since then we’ve been driving around in hired cars. Thank God we weren’t in it.”
The loveable Irish comedian features in two big stories about the show.
One is on the Eastbourne Herald website and here is an excerpt from the article:
Over the last few years Eastbourne has begun to finally shake free of its historic tag as a pensioner’s paradise but this summer one corner of the Sunshine Coast will be proudly plonking itself well and truly inside a time warp.
Having opened way back in 1883, the Royal Hippodrome Theatre has played host to stars of the stage as diverse as Peter Sellers, Ken Dodd, Vera Lynn and even escape artists extraordinaire Harry Houdini.
But despite surviving an unfair roasting from Sir Bruce Forsyth, who publicly laid into the venue’s facilities during an interview – he was starring at the Hippodrome when he was called up to compere at the London Palladium – the much-loved theatre has fallen on hard times.
Where once it staged regular shows, attracting sell-out crowds of more than 1,000 all year round, now the bill is limited to the summer months and played out in front of audiences which are often far more modest.
This summer though, the powers that be are hoping for a return to the halcyon days of yesteryear as the venue once again gears up for its summer variety show – the longest running of its type anywhere in the UK.
A Sentimental Journey kicks off on May 1 and runs all the way up until the end of September and boasts an array of acts ready to tread the boards in what promises to be a fun-filled and nostalgia twinged trip back to the 1950s and 60s – a time when variety ruled the world and places like the Hippodrome attracted the biggest stars in the businesses.
The line-up includes a Billy Fury tribute act who blossomed after an appearance on hit TV show Stars in Their Eyes and a team of show time dancers who will no doubt high kick their way through some of the popular numbers from yesteryear.
Comperes Barry Moon and Mike Lee will keep things ticking over with their mix of conversation and comedy while Tracey Lea appears as the much-loved Connie Francis.
Top of the bill and very much the main attraction though is a man perhaps best known for his letters from his mammy and an inability to tell his left from his right.
Jimmy Cricket has been charming crowds since first stepping onto a Butlins stage as a 18-year-old red coat back in 1966. England may have been winning the World Cup, but over the sea in the small Irish town of Mosney a young comic was developing a winning formula which would carry him through the next four decades and see him leave an indelible print on the comedy consciousness of all who saw him.
And Jimmy is also mentioned prominently in a feature on Whatsonstage.com, which says it is “Britain’s biggest and best theatre and performing arts website”.
The story is about Eastbourne’s Royal Hippodrome opening its doors again May with a five-month run of a new summer season show called Sentimental Journey – in which Jimmy will be starring.
Here is a section from the story:
The summer show, which is being produced to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year, is a family variety show appropriately called Sentimental Journey. This will take you on a journey back to the time of the coronation (1953) with Stars in Their Eyes contestants Colin Gold as Billy Fury and Tracy Lea, as Connie Francis. The show will also have its own Show Time Dancers and alternating compères Barry Moon and Mike Lee. Headlining is a man who has been described as “one of the greatest front of tabs comedians” and family favourite, Jimmy Cricket.
I had an opportunity to talk to Jimmy about the show and the theatre in which it plays.
“This is the Cinderella theatre in Eastbourne and the fact that it could have closed makes me weep. I’ve gone out on a limb sometimes, when I see other theatres closing, and I have had irate letters back from some councillors asking why I am butting in, but I can’t just stand by and watch them go under.
“I was here three or four years ago. I stood in for Syd Little for a few nights in the summer when he had other commitments, and when I had the greasepaint on and I got the smell of the theatre in my nostrils I knew I wanted to come back. It’s wonderful to be here for a real summer season, with a time-honoured and classic variety show.”