Die Shellsuit, Die!

An Alternative Music Magazine

All The Fun Of The Fair - Theatre Production, Darlington Civic Theatre, 24th September 2008

David Essex

This touring theatre production take’s its name from the first album released by the person behind this show - David Essex.

This is a show which see’s it tips it’s hat to other artists basing a story around their own songs, Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’ and ABBA’s ‘Mamma Mia’ amongst others.

All the songs here span the 40 years of David’s career. I had been also asked to review the accompanying cd (http://www.dieshellsuit.co.uk/article_detail.asp?rID=2967), and it was good to see how they were placed into the world of a touring fun fair.

The show opens with ‘A Winter’s Tale’ sung by the gypsy of the fair, explaining the scene and how the story will unfold. Then the star of the show, David shows up with his silhouette against the backdrop smoking a cigarette. This is where the show really starts with the lights coming up and the cast making the stage alive and exciting, just like a real fun fair.

The characters of the musical are slowly introduced, the so called ‘pikeys’ of the fun fair here trying to get on with the ‘townies’ where the fair has stopped. The heavies of the town hire the fair for his daughter’s birthday and this where David’s son falls in love with her and they then run away, not caring about the people they leave behind.

When the fair moves on, and the son and his new girlfriend catch them up, they soon find their new lives together quickly ruined by the father trying to take his daughter back with him. The end of the show doesn’t end the way you would think it would end, with a shocker of a scene.

The whole evening flowed along really well, the songs of Essex fit into this story like a fitted glove. The stage mostly stayed the same throughout the play. This was fine as your imagination took over and made you think about what should be there and enjoy the acting and the songs even more.

During the motorbike scene where 3 bikes were on stage being ridden around the walls of death, I was so glad I was in the circle of the theatre, the poor people in the front stalls were swamped by the itchy fingered smoke machine operator. You don’t need to smoke out the whole front 15 rows to make it look better!

I enjoyed the whole production and would advise anyone of all ages to go along and enjoy the night.