The Twist Show
The NEW hit 50's and 60's Rock
'n' Roll Show... The Twist, has arrived. Featuring the songs
of, Petula Clark, Elvis, Connie Francis, Buddy Holly, Dusty
Springfield, Billy Fury and more.
This West End style show takes you into the heart of an
American diner where your Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy begins. All
the greats pop into The Twist diner to perform for Tony
Tremendo, the diner owner. Featuring the Twisters, the
resident house band and the Twistettes, the diners adorable
waitresses... and aspiring actresses.
Hear wonderful fifties radio adverts and jingles as DJ Danny
Dellany from Real Music Radio broadcasts live from the diner
and the Twistettes might just get their big break.
It's great family fun as 'Happy Days' meets 'Buddy' in this
hit after hit musical. Comedy, live band, authentic vocals and
a stunning set. Great songs never die and at the Twist, we
keep them alive and kicking.
Here Digger talks to the
producer Julie Stewart at Crimson Fair about The Twist Show.
went along to The Harlow Playhouse to experience the show.
Here is his review.
overwhelming impression I got at the show was how much the
audience related to the songs and reacted with the
performers. From the word go, the audience was up for a
fun evening. The quality of the vocals and the
musicianship of the band was first-rate. The performers
certainly work very hard to keep the show up-tempo and the
audience enthralled. And where else can you hear Elvis,
Buddy, Dusty, Connie Francis, Brenda Lee and Petula Clark
all on one bill?
to people's comments after the show and they were full of
praise for the show and went away fully entertained. And I
agree with them.
Digger: Can you please tell us a bit about your background
Julie: I worked in Dunstable,
working for a publisher in Church Street at ABC Travel
Guides - I was there for twelve years and I worked my way up.
They were producing timetables, such as The World Airways Guide
and I was
distribution and administration manager.
Digger: This was pre-Internet?
Julie: Yes it was. I started to
do some selling for myself because my son was very young - a
bit of Avon and Tupperware and stuff. It's great and I still
have loads in my garage!
I remember Tupperware parties - I wonder if they still do them these
days?! My mum was an Avon Lady.
Julie: Yes my sister is a
manager for Avon up north. I then became a senior PA to work
around a small family. And then, about seven years ago, I
started my own cleaning business - worked at that and it
became very successful. I sold that last year.
Digger: They call people like you serial entrepreneurs.
Julie: (Laughs) Possibly. And
then, the year before last, I was working for an entrepreneur
selling office space, which is where I met my business partner
Kimberly with whom I run Crimson Fair now. We formed it and
decided to run a comedy club, which we did in Milton Keynes
last year. Then we met Susie and Chris and the rest is
Digger: Is the comedy club still going?
Julie: No, I think we may
re-invent it though.
Digger: It's weird how comedy has gone in recent years. It's
almost like the new rock and roll with comedians filling the
Julie: Yes, it's gone very big.
When we first thought about it was when it was starting to
Digger: Milton Keynes - not renowned for comedy, is it? But
saying that, it's the
centre of a big catchment area.
Julie: In the Snozone there's a
pub and they do comedy nights there quite regularly. I think they
do quite well. We managed to get Tiffany Stevenson for a
couple of nights before she became well-known. We booked her a
couple of times and she's really friendly - a lovely lady.
Digger: I'm not so keen on
comedians who swear and rant a lot, are you?
Julie: No, we had a couple of
those and they didn't go down very well at all. It's very
difficult to gauge what you're going to get because we went
through an agent.
Digger: When you see a number
of comedians in a show I'm often surprised by the different
styles and the variety of material.
Julie: Yes, there are, very much.
You have the comperes, the headliners and the ones that go in
the middle. Although people loved the shows it wasn't becoming
viable enough. So we
decided to produce our own musical show, as you do, at the
beginning of last year. Then we met Susie, who'd already
written The Twist.
Digger: That was a spot of
Julie: It was really because we
were actually auditioning for a show called Shake which was
what we were going to put together. That was a Rock and Roll
Digger: Susie is relatively
very young - why is she into the Rock and Roll?
Julie: She played Dusty in the
West End and fell in love with it. Dusty is one of her idols
and Petula, obviously. She does Connie Francis and Brenda Lee
as well - all four are in the show. And she also does The Twist
Lady. So, in relation to the show, we've produced the set and
put it all together with an American Diner backdrop. Kimberly
designed everything - she's a fabulous designer and we have got so
many wonderful elements in our team. We've got Kimberly with
the marketing and design background, then Chris and Susie with
their entertainment background and Chris has actually written
three of the songs...
Digger: Chris was singing on
the recent series of Strictly Come Dancing, wasn't he?
Julie: That's right. He's got a fabulous
voice and he writes jingles for radio stations and does a lot
of musical production - he's produced his own album as well.
Chris and Susie only live an hour or so away and so we meet up
a lot up here or down there. We're obviously very busy managing,
producing, developing and promoting the show as well as
juggling in lots of other areas. So The Twist has gone from
strength to strength, really.
Digger: What sorts of audiences
is it attracting? Is it a mixture?
Julie: It is a bit of a mixture.
I suppose you're looking at forty plus - that's the main
Digger: I go to lots of 'retro'
shows and a lot of the people there are sixty plus.
Julie: They were that sort of
age group when we went
to see That'll Be The Day.
Digger: The people who grew up
with the fifties and sixties are now going to be fifty and
sixty plus, but then people who grew up in the seventies,
eighties and more recently are still going to be very aware
of the sorts of songs and singers in your show. It's also very
Julie: Yes, very much. I think
at the end of the day, you tend to get into
whatever your parents were listening to. I loved Buddy
Holly and Petula Clark. Chris sings Buddy songs in the show
and Susie sings Petula songs. I bought Petula Clark's Downtown
as my first vinyl record when I was about eight.
Digger: That must have been a
re-release as you're too young for the original. (Both
laugh) I know it's been re-released a few times and even Emma
Bunton had a version out. Written by the great Tony Hatch, of
course. About four years ago I went to a
recording at the BBC of Friday Night Is Music Night presented
by Aled Jones who is actually a very nice and funny guy. It was a live radio
show and was a tribute to Tony Hatch, who was there. Singers
doing Tony's material included Alesha Dixon and Tony Hadley.
Julie: I hear Aled is very
nice. Chris actually worked
with Tony Hatch so he may have even been there.
Digger: It was amazing to hear
Tony's material and remember how much he had done. Do you
remember New Faces?
Julie: Yes I do. And as well as
Tony Hatch, Bill
Kenwright used to be a judge on that show and we went to his
theatre at Windsor - he gave permission for The Twist to
come there. He produced Dreamboats and Petticoats as well and
we were very honoured by that.
Digger: I can remember him when
I was very young in Coronation Street. And now he's a big
Julie: A multi-millionaire.
Digger: Like you're going to be
Julie: Won't that be
Digger: I'll never be a
millionaire but I make a living doing something I enjoy and I
get such positivity from the people I am talking to which is
worth a lot.
Julie: That's lovely.
Digger: So much better than
having a proper job, despite being hard work.
Julie: If you do something
you love it doesn't actually fell like hard work. We've got
our own van and PA system now and on Saturday we're going to
be travelling around with that. It's going to be amazing and good fun.
Digger: Your list of gigs is
impressive. You've got about forty venues on there booked
through the year. They're obviously taking you seriously?
Julie: As a new show, you've got to prove yourself. There were a couple of shows that were a
bit low on attendance, 200 or so, but at the rest we've been in
the 350 mark and 500 at Bradford last year and 400 at Lincoln
Digger: That's very impressive
in this 'climate'. How much are the
Digger: That's good value for
an evening's entertainment.
Julie: It's a good price. There's no
point in overpricing, because the aim is to get people through
the door. With Clacton and Felixstowe it was a little bit less
and at Windsor it varied because we did eight shows there - a
whole week's run, which was amazing.
Digger: You're doing a few on
the Isle of Wight I noticed. Is it because it's holiday
Julie: Yes, and Chris's sister
runs the Shanklin theatre and she wanted us there. In Windsor,
she brought fifty children to the matinee show and they all
bought programmes, bless them, so I got all of the programmes
signed by all of the cast so they had a nice little souvenir.
Digger: That was kind. Do the cast come out
after the show?
Julie: No, to be fair we just
don't have enough time after the show because we need to be
out of the theatres by eleven and if it's a ten o'clock finish
then it's very tight - they all need to get changed and get
home. York was a two-and-a-half hour journey for us which wasn't too
bad. But some of them will take three or four hours driving so
it's a long trek after the show.
Digger: And they're homing
pigeons wanting to get back rather than stay over?
Julie: They do want to get
back. I'm keeping an eye on the projected ticket sales at
up-and-coming gigs. But generally they're looking good. We've
been doing a lot of fliering - we tend to do door drops. It
works really well for us because we deliver fliers near to the
theatre and they know the theatres.
Digger: Why do you think
there's such a big interest in retro, vintage and nostalgia
Julie? It's huge, it's everywhere and it seems as if it's touching everybody.
Why is that?
Julie: I think people like to
have memories and as you get older the more memories you have
and the more you want to hold on to the good ones. If you even look at the
seventies and eighties, that comes back with all the fashions
and music and it just does a cycle. I think people need that.
Digger: What will they do for
memories from the nineties and the noughties?
Julie: I'm not sure. There
weren't so many trends then, were they? What sort of music -
dance, house, garage, rap, hip-hop and techno maybe?
Digger: Will it mean anything
to people in the future?
Julie: Who knows? Did we know
at the time when we were in the sixties, seventies and
Digger: No, but although it
may be a cliché I think the music back then was proper music,
with proper words and tunes that were memorable.
Julie: We went to Carmarthen in
September and I was chatting to some of the technical people
who were helping us out and one man said "I just love your show
and everybody we've spoken to loved it. It took me back and I
was almost in tears." It moved me so much and I thought it was
so lovely for a grown man to say that to me. Amazing and
Digger: Yes, amazing. Tell us a bit more
about the show. You've got Dusty, Buddy, Billy Fury, Evils,
Julie: Brenda Lee, Connie
Francis and Buddy Holly - that's our leads and then we've got
three wonderful dancers called The Twistettes and that's
Daisey, Maisey and Shirley. We've got our two actors - David
and Jack. David plays Tony Tremendo - he's the diner owner
with a bit of a New York Bronx accent.
Digger: Who supplied the diner?
Julie: My dad is a carpenter
and he created the bar. Kimberly designed the backdrop
and the set. We keep it simple and light because we've learned
that's the best way if you're trying to get in and out of
theatres in a reasonable time. We've now got our own PA system so we're going to be
travelling around with that in the van as
well as the props and sets. We've got to keep it impressive
and good to look at but practical. We love doing it and it's a passion for Susie and
Chris and all of us. The team is wonderful.
Digger: Are you thinking about
the next show after The Twist has run it's course Julie?
Julie: We are. There will be
another show - we're so busy with The Twist at the moment that
it wouldn't be in the near future. But we have plans. We do some corporate gigs -
a reduced version of the show because that's a good side of
the business for us as well. We're event management as well,
as you know because you've been to one of our events, haven't
Digger: Yes, it was great fun and good to
see and hear Susie and Chris singing there too. You mentioned the
Welshman who was crying with joy. What about other feedback from
audiences and theatres?
Julie: At Carmarthen, the
director sent me an email to say "Some people say it's the
best show they've ever seen." At Windsor, the reviews were
amazing - the critics and press came along and they were
saying "If they get the same feedback from other theatres that
they got here then Crimson Fair have got a hit on their
hands." Just amazing reviews. I went in to see the front of
house manager in the interval and said "How are we doing?" And
he said "Just listen." And we heard that Bill Kenwright
was definitely impressed by the show and you can't get any
better than that really
Digger: That's high praise
coming from one of our biggest producers. What are the most
enjoyable aspects of what you are doing?
Julie: I love selling the shows to theatres
and when the theatres have heard about our show and are
excited about us performing there. I love the excitement of
going to a theatre you've never been to before and not knowing
what to expect.
Digger: What's your singing
voice like then Julie?
Julie: It's aright. I get
away with it. I sang in a charity pantomime for Anglian Water
once in Cinderella. I was Prince Charming and I did the solo.
Digger: I love panto.
Julie: I absolutely love it.
Susie and Chris are both vocal coaches so I might surprise them one day and do the backing
vocals eventually as well as everything else!
Digger: Well Julie, I really
looking forward to coming along to the show with Avril - she
loves a good dance and a sing-a-long. If the reviews are
anything to go by we're in for a great night.
Julie: Great. Look forward
to seeing you there.
"It's bursting with the feel good factor; you really can't
fail to have fun and let your hair down."
Twist captivated a full house. If the show comes to your
town, make sure you get to see it! You won't regret a
Mike Richards, Lincoln City Radio
this response is typical across the country, then the
producers have a huge sell-out hit on their hands!"
Steve Archer, Maidenhead Advertiser
"This is a hugely enjoyable show which has the audience
enthralled from beginning to end. It's a wonderfully
nostalgic trip back to the years when pop music was
innocent and fun."
Barry Dix, Uxbridge Gazette