Festive rock ‘n’ roll variety hits Crawley and Portsmouth

Rock ‘n’ roll variety show That’ll Be The Day is teaming up with The Hawth in Crawley “helping to save Christmas one stream at a time.”

Wednesday, 2nd December 2020, 7:00 am
That'll Be The Day - Pembrokeshire Photography
That'll Be The Day - Pembrokeshire Photography

Their Christmas show has long been a fixed feature of the festive season for many thousands of people the length and breadth of the country.

The good news is that Worthing-born Trevor Payne, producer, director and performer, has come up with a way to ensure that it will still go ahead this year – albeit in different form.

Supported by funding from Arts Council England, the show has partnered with The Hawth to deliver the team’s brand-new Christmas show online direct into people’s homes this December, with up to £4.25 per stream going to help support the venue through these challenging times.

The pre-recorded show includes the best pop Christmas classics and traditional Christmas songs along with comedy routines. On the night, Trevor will introduce the show. He and his partner in comedy Gary will read out messages from the night’s audience during the interval. And then at the end, three or four members of the cast will be on hand, live that night, to chat.

The only thing pre-recorded will be the show itself, a screening of the new That’ll Be The Day Christmas DVD, which is also available to buy from the That’ll Be The Day website. Book tickets on: https://www.thatllbetheday.events/Crawley and a number of other venues get their opportunity on Friday, December 4, with other dates for other groups of venues running through until Sunday, December 13 (a night which includes Southsea’s Kings Theatre).

Trevor, who was born and brought up in Worthing, cut his musical teeth in the town, performing at a time when all the big bands used to hot-foot it straight to Worthing to perform again on a Thursday night immediately after appearing on Top Of The Pops – days when Worthing was one of the key music venues in the country.

He knows a thing or two about the old maxim that the show must go on.

“This is the best we can do to keep the show going. We have got such a big following for our Christmas show. It’s the most popular fast-selling show that we do.

“But we haven’t actually done anything live since March. All the shows were cancelled this year, but we wanted to do something and so we have done this show. And it was great. We had the time to do double takes, and we were able to be a bit innovative, doing our own little bits and pieces. It is almost like a TV show. And we have done our own version of Gogglebox. We Gogglebox our own show! All the people on the couch are characters that you will recognise. It has made for quite a funny little bit on our DVD.”

As for how he will look back on the year, well, it’s been a hard one: “I am of an age now. I have been working on this show for 35 years and I had a career before that. For me personally, I suppose it has not had such a bad impact.

“I manage the show and I write the show and I love the people that I work with. It is really special for me, and really the year has been about somehow trying to keep it together. I just don’t want it to start to fracture after a year like we have all just been having. Next year is the 35th anniversary which is an amazing achievement, and we have done more than 7,000 performances. I just don’t want it to start to slide away.

“Sales of the DVD are encouraging. But it is just a question of how long the guys can hang on without earning any money.”

The streaming fills a gap, but it is not what the show is about: “It is a live show.”

And who knows when it can resume as such. They transferred their spring shows to the autumn, and then they had to transfer the autumn shows to the spring next year: “It will be a whole year, and you worry that people will have got out of the habit of going to the theatre.”

Also you have to factor in time to sell the tickets: “When we get the go-ahead, we won’t just be able to start doing shows the next week. Usually we put the tickets on sale six months ahead. In the circumstances next year, perhaps we will put them on sale three months ahead once we get the go-ahead.”

In the worst moments, Trevor admits he wondered whether he had actually played his last show: “I don’t have that long left where I can keep up playing the number of shows that we do each year, usually 220. And whether those days will ever come back anyway, I just don’t know.”

But for the moment at least, Trevor and the gang have saved Christmas…