Dawson play is a belter

Cissie and AdaCissie and Ada
Cissie and Ada
The daughter of legendary funnyman Les Dawson has given a comedy play about her father the thumbs up.

Julie Ryder, who lives in Chorley, watched the performance of Cissie and Ada – An Hysterical Rectomy in Salford on Tuesday night.

Together with her daughter, Les’s grand daughter Megan, she took time out after the play to thank Coronation Street actor Eric Potts for his portrayal of her much-loved dad – who died 20 years ago this year.

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Julie, who lives in Whittle-le-Woods, said: “My father would have been proud – the play made me both laugh and cry.

“All the family enjoyed it, the whole cast were great.

“The play played to a packed house and was a fitting way to remember the 20th anniversary of my father’s death rather than gimmicky old holograms.”

In the run up to the performances – which included the Blackpool Grand, Lancaster Grand and Manchester’s Lowry – two ex-Coronation Street stars rehearsed in Chorley.

Steven Arnold, Coronation Street’s Ashley the butcher, and Eric Potts who played baker Diggory joined Mrs Thatcher impersonator Steve Nallon from Spitting Image at the Chorley Community Centre.

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The play has been put together by Chris Mellor, who spent a decade as Chorley Council’s cultural service manager until 2008.

Chris helped put together a cultural strategy for Chorley which included the introduction of the Midsummer Festival and Chorley FM.

Chris has also had extensive experience as an independent producer in the Fringe sector.

As well as Cissie and Ada, he has produced Monsieur Proust and his Stripper at the Etcetera Theatre, Making Allowances at the New Diorama Theatre and The Virginity Project at Tristan Bates.

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He has also co-produced an online interactive role play Mr Exs Camden Players’ with Coney and a Kenneth Williams Weekend with actor David Benson. Chris co-produced An Audience with Camille O’Sullivan at the Shaw Theatre.

He is a company director of the Actors Centre and has been a trustee of the Dukes Theatre Lancaster and Voluntary Arts England/Scotland.

In relation to Chorley FM, Chris said: “I saw the value in it in 2000. We took out a small radio licence.”

Located on Steeley Lane. Chris recruited volunteers to set up the Chorley FM company Ltd as a not-for-profit company.

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Peter Kay, who name-checked the station on his shows, tried to buy it for £80.

“He wanted the name and to do that he wanted a company and he offered to buy the company, ” Chris has said.

“He offered us £80 and said he would do us a charity gig of his choice. We said no, go away.

“I’ve still got the letter from his accountant saying this is the offer. They’ve not come back to us.”

Chris has high hopes for the play about Cissie and Ada.

He said it was already attracting West End interest.

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“After this tour, we will get a bit of interest and attract bigger theatres coming back into London for a slot on the West End and that will be 2014, ” he said.

“So it’s all about the timing and having the right investment package ready.

“I would think the production is good enough to get to the West End.”

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