There’s some of good old fashioned variety coming to The Stables next month with a bit of something for everyone.
There’s This is Me featuring Helen Ward Jackson performing an acoustic set of songs by Adele and ‘other Divas’ who have inspired her; these include Etta James, Celine Dion, Dusty Springfield and Whitney Houston! Helen sold out at The Stables when she performed there last year.
Then there’s William Allenby a soloist from Covent Garden and London Coliseum who has performed Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar and is regular singer on Friday Night is Music Night, his show will include a pianist and other guests.
Then there’s ventriloquist Steve Hewlett with his sidekick Arthur Lager. The Stables is a quick hop for Steve who lives in Eastbourne with his wife and young daughter and talking to Hastings In Focus last week Steve explained that he is looking forward to playing to a ‘home crowd’.
While it might just be a few years since Steve came to national prominence by winning his way through to the finals of Britain’s Got Talent in 2017 he has been practising his craft since he was just 11 years old – more than 25 years ago. He says when he was asked to do Britain’s Got Talent it was a risk as he already had an established reputation in venues up and down the country but as things have turned out it was a risk worth taking.
The Hastings audience will see the debut of a whole new show, which is Steve’s launch of Arthur Lager’s Get Real Tour. Arthur has been Steve’s companion for a few years now but in the new show we’ll meet Arthur’s family and find out a bit more about what made him the man – or maybe the puppet – that he is today!
Steve has been fascinated by ventriloquism for as long as he can remember. Ventriloquist Jimmy Tamley appeared on – and won – the TV show New Faces in 1987, he lived close to where Steve grew up and the day after the final was broadcast Steve went round to Jimmy’s house to ask for advice and tips on how to make it. he poured over the book A Gottle of Geer by the renowned Ray Allen; simply Steve would absorb anything that would help home hone his craft and make him a better ventriloquist.
He turned professional at the tender age of 22 and in his 30s he has started to produce shows and is currently writing his own book about famous ventriloquists down the years.
He has worked with all the greats and spent two Christmas seasons in the US working alongside Jimmy Osmond on the Andy Williams Christmas Extravaganza.
“I hoped being part of Britain’s Got talent would open doors for me and it certainly did that. I played The Royal Albert Hall and was told that Jimmy Osmond wanted to meet me and he invited me out to do a seven week tour with him and the rest of the Osmond family. I did that two years in a row,” says Steve who turned down a third invitation to avoid missing another Christmas with his young daughter.
He was also asked to perform at the 90th birthday party of Ken Dodd, something he says was an honour and great privilege.
Steve is proud to have been inducted as a member of The Grand Order of Water Rats, the iconic UK show business charitable organisation, it’s list of members reads like a roll call of the greats of British entertainment, Steve was proposed by fellow ventriloquist Roger De Courcey.
With so much already under his belt, asked what his ambitions for the future are Steve pauses, then recalls that Ken Dodd once set himself the ambition of playing every theatre in the UK, “I like that idea, there’s an ambition to aim for,” he says.
With a new family of puppets already being prepared for the show that will debut at The Stables, Steve is looking forward to exploring other dimensions of the life of Arthur Lager and taking his Hastings audience with him on a voyage of discovery.
Steve Hewlett’s show Arthur Lager’s Get Real Tour is at The Stables on March 12th, tickets are available from the box office from £15 (£12 for members and under 18s) http://stablestheatre.co.uk/arthur-lagers-get-real-tour/
Have you had a listen to The Hastings Podcast yet? Follow the link below…