Review - An Audience with Cannon and Ball, Lowther Pavilion

Bobby Ball and Tommy Cannon

Bobby Ball and Tommy Cannon - Credit: Archant

An Audience with Cannon and Ball, Lowther Pavilion, Lytham St. Anne’s – Sunday 21st September

Cannon & Ball played to millions of households back in the 1980’s with their popular television programme, and the UK’s longest serving double act brought their show to the respondent crowds of Lytham for a very special evening.

Bobby and Tommy are no strangers to the Lowther Pavilion having premiered Bobby’s self-penned play “Rock Off, Tommy” at the theatre back in February of this year and it was at the time that the realisation hit Bobby just how much the theatre needed support which is why the pair agreed to perform for one night with all the proceeds going to the Friends of Lytham helping the maintenance and running of this wonderful venue.

Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball have been partners, associates and friends for 52 years and the chemistry on stage showed that from the moment the curtain came up through their energetic performance showcasing the amalgamation of the multitude of their talents. From the outset the show itself was pure comedy gold and highly entertaining. Bobby’s red braces and brown hush puppies that became so famous in his act were back much to the delight of the adoring audience. Playing off each other and also involving the crowd it was apparent that the friendship between the pair is stronger today as it has ever been. Not only were they making the audience laugh, but the majority of the time they were just making each other laugh. A lot of the show also played upon Bobby’s connection to Lytham and the surrounding areas much to the amusement of the crowd.

Starting out in the music industry, both men displayed their talents singing a variety of songs which opened with a hilarious rendition of “Molly Malone” with Bobby doing ‘back-up’ through to the Sinatra classic, “That’s Life” and closing on the evocative “Through the Years” by Kenny Rogers, the lyrics of which can sum up this companionship in its entirety. It was a truly emotional moment of the show, the sentiments of the song ringing home and casting a wonderful light on this remarkable duo.

The second half of the show also allowed the pair to talk more freely to the audience regarding their life stories, how they met and various tales through the years on the comedy circuit trying to make it big. It also allowed the audience to have their own questions answered by Tommy and Bobby in which they didn’t hold back and continued to make each other, as well as the audience, laugh as they reminisced.

As the curtain was about to close on their rendition of “Through the Years” the audience showed their appreciation for this incredible talent with a standing ovation which was thoroughly deserved.

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The entertainment that ensued from their performance in my opinion still rightly deserves to be on our television sets on a Saturday evening as this was real class unlike the collection of talent and reality shows that we are forced to endure.

Much of their passion I share and one final word will stick with me forever as Tommy Cannon took to the microphone to answer a question and emitted the serious, but truthful words: “Support your theatre”. They are aware, as many others, how difficult local theatre is finding it with venues closing down, not just in the North West, but all over the country. It is a dying art that desperately needs revival and the response from the audience was positive following his wonderful words. It is a true reflection in the support that I am trying to garner for amateur dramatics and the theatre in general and one that will hopefully revive its status.

With 52 years under their belts, or braces, this magnificent double act could easily continue to entertain us for another 52 and we would still continue to love them.