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The Twist Show & Crimson Fair









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.


Digger went along to The Harlow Playhouse to experience the show. Here is his review.

The 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?

I listened 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 b
ackground Julie?

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!

Digger: 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 history.

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 stadiums.

Julie: Yes, it's gone very big. When we first thought about it was when it was starting to grow.

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 luck.

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 show.

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 demographic.

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 cyclical.

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 producer.

Julie: A multi-millionaire.

Digger: Like you're going to be soon, Julie.

Julie: Won't that be nice?

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 and Loughborough.

Digger: That's very impressive in this 'climate'. How much are the tickets?

Julie. 20.

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 season?

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 eighties?

Digger: No, but although it may be a clich 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 fantastic feedback.

Digger: Yes, amazing. Tell us a bit more about the show. You've got Dusty, Buddy, Billy Fury, Evils, Petula...

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 you?

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."
Clare Brotherwood,

"The Twist captivated a full house. If the show comes to your town, make sure you get to see it! You won't regret a single moment."
Mike Richards, Lincoln City Radio

"If 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






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