Brighton legend Dora Bryan remembered on stage

Rosemary Ashe brings to life the late great Brighton resident and star of stage and screen Dora Bryan.

Rosie as Dora
Rosie as Dora

Her show Adorable Dora will be at The Warren Oil Shed, Victoria Gardens, Brighton BN1 1UB on Thursday, July 8 at 4.45pm and Saturday, July 10 at 1.10pm.

Rosemary said: “For so many Brighton and Hove residents the name Dora need not be followed by the name Bryan.

“So many of us saw her around town, shopping in Kemp Town Village or emerging from her seafront home to walk her dogs. Dora Bryan was as much a part of the city as she was a part of British entertainment.

“Over nearly eight decades she did it all, from pantomime and Carry On films to Shakespeare, from Last of the Summer Wine and Ab Fab to Dinner Ladies and perhaps most importantly her iconic and BAFTA Award winning performance in the film A Taste Of Honey. She earned the title national treasure in so so many ways.”

Now Rosemary Ashe is bringing her to the stage – on the back of an enviable CV. Rosie has appeared in many West End productions including: Carlotta, the Prima Donna in the original cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of The Opera, Madame Thenardier in Les Miserables, Cunegonde in Candide, Widow Corney in Oliver!, Hortense in The Boyfriend,

Forbidden Broadway, Felicia Gabriel in The Witches of Eastwick (for which she was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical), Miss Andrew, the nasty nanny in Mary Poppins and Lottie Grady in When We Are Married.

and Grandma Mole in The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 & ¾, plus her own tribute to Broadway and Hollywood star Ethel Merman, Call Me Merman.

Rosie as Dora

Rosie has always been a huge fan of Dora Bryan and during a clear-out during lockdown last year came across an old cassette of hers which gave her the inspiration to write the show.

She spent a lot of time doing research into her long career and talked to many actors and directors who knew and worked with her, to get a real flavour of the highly-versatile actress who was based in Brighton for so many years.

“The result is Adorable Dora, a show that tells of her often turbulent life and recreates some of Dora’s best known and best loved theatrical creations.”

Christopher Biggins, himself an iconic figure in British theatre history, has seen the show.

He said: “Last night I went to the Jermyn St Theatre off Piccadilly to see Adorable Dora, a show about Dora Bryan, who was not just someone I worked in pantomime with, but also a very close friend of mine.

“Rosemary Ashe has resurrected her in the most extraordinary way so that Dora has not left us at all but is alive! Not only does Rosie look and sound like her, she manages to convey the very essence, fun, eccentricity and flamboyance of this wonderful, wonderful actress. I urge everyone to beg, steal or borrow a ticket.”

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