A dramatic look at two stars of popular theatre

On the Halls
On the Halls
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A new play dramatizing the lives of two singers from a past era comes to the Marlborough Theatre, Princes Street, Brighton on January 25 at at 7.30pm.

“Funny, rude, poignant and bursting with energy, On The Halls is about two women who dominated popular theatre and entertainment over a hundred years ago,” explains spokeswoman Marie Kelly.

“Marie Lloyd – the Queen of the Halls as she was known – was famous for her songs with their suggestive lyrics, which tested the limits of Victorian prudery. Audiences loved her unique talent and personal generosity, but she came under fire from the moral establishment of the day who would have censored her if they could.

“Vesta Tilley was a child star who spent over 50 years as a professional performer. She was a brilliant comic artist who specialised in impersonating and sending up male roles, ranging from the upper-class toff to the hapless soldier rushing to war in 1914. She was a consummate professional who was careful never to attract scandal.

“On The Halls dramatizes the lives and loves of these two women with tenderness, drama and some cross-dressing comedy. But at the heart of the show are a dozen or so of the unforgettable songs, such as My Old Man Said Follow the Van or Oh! It’s a Lovely War!, that defined an era and are as fresh today as when they were first performed.

The show comes from Katapult, a Kent-based actors’ co-operative committed to bringing imaginative new work to audiences throughout the south east. On The Halls was written by Brighton-born and educated writer and teacher Michael Thomas, who now lives in Dover. The show has toured across Kent before coming to The Marlborough.

Tickets on 01273 273870.