Remember when you were a child and being sent to bed was a punishment? Now, I am at the age when going to bed early is a blissful reward.
However the one place to guarantee to break that mold is Wilton’s Music Hall at Graces Alley. Wilton’s is a Grade 2* listed building, the only survivor of the early Music Hall era. Actually I have volunteered here for a number of years and like so many others have come to adore this very special place.
For a sheer joint is jumping, great night out, the free Monday night music is astonishingly good. The Mahogany bar gets packed. I tell no lie, that a bar that seats about twenty heaves to a good hundred or so, until there is toe-tapping standing room only.
A particular recent favourite of mine has to be Hetty and the Jazzato band but there are many more to choose from.
As shows go, I have seen some great and varied entertainment such as Christopher Green as either Ida Barr the people’s pensioner, or as the singing hypnotist teaching us how to empower ourselves. Yes, I did get Christopher Green to inscribe a copy of his excellent book. Check out the Ida Barr version of London Pride.
As part of the usher team I have enjoyed some great nights with Vanessa, Eady, Rupert and Debs, including getting a hand shake from Roy Hudd after a performance of Mother Goose, and showing John Major to his seat whilst trying to sell Norma Major a programme.
Do read John Major’s book My Old Man. I saw John Major talk about this at the British Library hosted by Christopher Green. I recommend the book because it really captures Music Hall as a wonderful, touching and participatory art form.
Unfortunately, at time of writing, the Monday night History tour by Carole, Gill or occasionally myself is now no longer happening, but Gill and I can be found on a Monday and Sunday respectively telling Thames Tales on Thames Clippers.
It would be a dream to see old time music hall stars of the likes of Champagne Charlie , Dan Leno and Vesta Tilley on the stage but alas, still Carradine’s cockney sing-a-long comes mighty close. As the great Leno would say “Here we are again.”
P.S. And the shabby chic… refers to the distressed look of the building interior that somehow looks so right!