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Classic farce from Cannon and Ball

PUBLISHED: 15:46 21 May 2008 | UPDATED: 13:16 11 August 2010

Cannon and Ball

Cannon and Ball

Be warned - almost anything can happen in that great old comedy, Big Bad Mouse with Cannon and Ball let loose in it at Westcliff s Palace Theatre this week until Saturday, May24. This farcical comedy by Philip King and Falkland Cary was known as the ad-li

Be warned - almost anything can happen in that great old comedy, Big Bad Mouse with Cannon and Ball let loose in it at Westcliff's Palace Theatre this week until Saturday, May24.

This farcical comedy by Philip King and Falkland Cary was known as the ad-libbers' dream in the original production in the 1970s.

It starred Eric Sykes and the late Jimmy Edwards, and in the new production like the original, directed by the now legendary producer, Paul Elliott, Cannon and Ball if anything carry the ad-libbing even farther - they actually replayed the opening scene for the benefit of one very embarrassed latecomer on the Monday.

The whole thing ends up as a sort of special and unusual Cannon and Ball show. but with a proper story and a good talented cast.

The stars often step out of the action to talk to the audience and crack their own jokes, before returning to the tale of the powerful domineering boss, Mr Price-Hargreaves (Tommy Cannon), and the meek Mr Bloome (Bobby Ball), the much imposed on 'mouse' of the title.

He suddenly becomes the great lothario for the females of the office when he is identified by the niece of sombre secretary, Miss Spencer (beautifully played by Ann Smith), as the man who chased her through the bushes on Manchester Common.

This was obviously well before the days when such an event was considered a serious crime.

But the story is very incidental to the evening of comedy, which involves loads of outrageous over-the-top acting, and the whole thing being so daft that it is extremely funny.

It really is a case of anything goes, and Cannon and Ball now with the longest continuous working double-act relationship of more than 40 years in the British theatre are brilliant in their timing and ability to manipulate their audiences to get the laughs, though I did hear complaints that they were difficult to hear in the back stalls.

My advice is get seats as close to the stage as possible, but definitely not in the front row unless you want to be actually part of the action, and equally definitely do not be late arriving for this great fun evening in the theatre!


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