Chichester’s Vicky Edwards is delighted to be compering the variety show Live at the Regis at Bognor’s Alexandra Theatre (Wednesday, August 21-Sunday, August 25).
“Well, they do say it is the spice of life, and traditional variety has enjoyed renewed popularity in recent years, probably helped by TV shows like Britain’s Got Talent.”
Vicky has always been a fan of cabaret and variety: “I have the attention span of a gnat, so this sort of show is perfect for me – bite-sized entertainment!”
But, butterfly brain aside, Vicky rates variety as being terrific value for money.
“You get such incredible diversity of talent. Our show this year includes singing, dancing, a fabulous big band, probably the best young ventriloquist in the country and comedy legend Bobby Davro! What a bargain!
“It was the Victorians who really embraced variety as perfect seaside fun. They were spot on. What could be more fun than a day on the beach followed by an evening of melody, dance and laughter? Those Victorians might have been straight laced on the surface, but when it comes to variety they definitely knew how to let their hair down and their corsets out.”
Keen to see if there was an appetite for traditional variety in Bognor, producer Hazel Latus tested the water four years ago. Doing respectable business, the following year the show did better. By year three it was a sell-out success.
“But this year is going to be the best yet,” promises Vicky. “It is perfect entertainment for all the family.”
Having compered the past two Live at the Regis shows, Vicky has a fair idea of what her role should be: “A compere’s job is to keep things moving and to be the audience’s friend. Apart from bit of gentle banter, a couple of jokes and of course the housekeeping like reminding people to turn their phones off, I try to maintain the pace and keep the momentum going. People want to know what’s coming next, not to listen to me rambling on.”
A regular host of the Observer Series’ Community, Business and Education Awards, she acknowledges that accomplished comperes make it look easy: “There’s definitely an art to good compering and I try to refine my ‘hostess with the mostess’ skills with every show or award ceremony that I do. You need to make the audience feel relaxed, but also excited by what is coming up. Performers or winners deserve a great introduction, but at the same time you need to be succinct and to the point. It is a bit of a balancing act, but hopefully I’m getting the hang of it now.”
Vicky is returning to the venue later this year for the annual pantomime: “I have been so lucky to be cast in Bognor’s fabulous panto for the past five years and I absolutely adore it Working again with specialist pantomime company Spillers, this year is The Wizard of Oz. The pantomime version of the classic film, I am thrilled to be playing the Good Witch of the North, which means I get to wear a pretty flouncy frock and wings! Even better, some of my favourite actors from previous Bognor pantos will be joining me on stage.”
Live at the Regis runs from Wednesday, August 21-Sunday, August 25, 7.30pm Weds-Sat; 2.30pm Weds, Sat and Sun. Tickets: www.alexandratheatre.co.uk.