Bobby and Tommy play Ball

Rock off, Tommy
Rock off, Tommy
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Rock off, Tommy Lowther Pavilion,Lytham

Performers from Max Wall to Lenny Henry have successfully made the step from stand-up comic to stage actor, but the switch to playwright is rarer and more demanding.

It is therefore an enterprising yet risky proposition for Fylde Coast Players to stage the first play written by and starring Bobby Ball, alongside his longtime sparring partner Tommy Cannon.

Director Rosie Withers wisely sees the strength of the piece lies in Ball’s natural comic gifts of appearance, timing and movement. She lets him have his head and he dominates the play, set in Tommy’s bar in Majorca.

Talented regulars of the Players – Vera Cummins, Andy Cooke, Richie Withers and Helen Barrow – make a fine job playing the stereotypes they depict – alcoholic wife, comic policeman, spaced-out teen and distressed woman.

It’s like a Spanish Allo Allo.

Paul Lomax skilfully combines not so subtle innuendo and full-on camp as fragrant compere Johnny Garland, though his function – notably when leading the audience in a bingo session – is sometimes difficult to discern. Cannon and Ball fans of a certain age were there in numbers for the opening performance of a production which is at its best when it forgets it’s a play and becomes a comedy show.

The Players and Bobby Ball together do a right good turn.

Julian Wilde