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November 20, 2016 / basabbott

The Little Bit the Boys Admire


The Marie Lloyd Story
Brockdish Village Hall

Artistes tend to be of their period. It is hard to believe that Jimmy Young used to top the charts.
So Marie Lloyd, a woman with the air of an East End auntie, was the queen of the music hall.
Panto and music hall were people’s theatre; and she spoke straight to her public.
Don’t Dilly Dally On the Way is basically about homelessness.
Biopics (script by John Mangan) tend to have characters providing information rather than plot.
But the characterization is full-bodied. Judi Daykin is spunkily ordinary as the offstage Marie and lights up like a gas mantle onstage.
She finds a foil in Karen Hill as the fearsomely smart male impersonator Vesta Tilley.
Together they re-live the rowdy and sentimental music hall days, including well and lesser known songs.
Marie’s last performance, when she is obviously losing it, is deeply moving. So is the appearance of Vesta in feminine inter-war clothes, having drawn a line under the old days.

Basil Abbott

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