May 26 2011 Chester Chronicle
Chester will be taken back in time during the MBNA Chestival with a new addition to the programme – Vaudeville Weekend.
Vaudeville was a theatrical genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s and celebrated many different artists from different genres under one cabaret bill.
Chester will be holding its own colourful Vaudeville Weekend with some of the best international acts on the scene at the moment.
Tracy Lynn, director of Chester Festivals, said: “When I was approached by Neil Kendall, a popular local producer of burlesque events, about creating a vaudeville element to MBNA Chestival, I jumped at the chance.
“Beautiful vintage entertainment is a perfect match for Chester and one that hasn’t been done before and with a mixture of free family-friendly events and ticketed cabaret shows, there is something for everyone.”
The event becomes part of the Midsummerwatch and Mystery Plays weekend on June 18-19 – so Chester will be alive with colour all weekend and there will be something to see and do in every nook and cranny of Chester’s streets.
If you come along to the Vaudeville Weekend you will be entertained by all sorts of weird and wonderful characters.
Local theatre group, Jigsaw, start off proceedings on the Town Hall stage with a play created to celebrate a particular attraction of the Vaudeville Weekend – The Insect Circus.
Throughout the day on the same stage, created specifically for this weekend, audiences will be entertained by Frayed Knot Circus with acts such as Lady in the Bottle and Insect Girl.
You will also be amazed by the juggling skills of Matt Ricardo and axe thrower Anna Fur Laxis and to return to traditional Victorian entertainment with Punch and Judy shows at The Cross.
In the evening the focus is on the Town Hall which is a perfect setting for vaudeville cabaret shows.
They start on Saturday, June 18 with a family friendly variety show at 6pm.
Twelve amazing acts will thrill and excite, from Chinese pole artists, circus juggling, contortionists and hula hooping – fun for all the family, with a family ticket costing £35 for two adults and two children it’s a great night out in Chester.
At 8.30pm it turns to the over-18s and a show which involves 14 acts in a chaotic cabaret of trickery, theatre, comedy, burlesque and sideshows.
Topping the bill is contortionist and escapologist Chris Cross, who recently entertained Prince William in a secret venue in London during his stag do and who Prince Harry described as ‘a brilliant show’.
The event also features Edinburgh fringe favourite Matt Ricardo and his unique juggling act, professional sensationalist Amber Ray flying in from New York for a rare appearance in the UK while the Frayed Knot Circus will round things up with their feats of daring and devilment.
On Sunday, June 19, the cabaret continues with a family magic illusion show at 5pm at the Town Hall with Chester’s very own Paul Dabek along with Romany, Diva of Magic, who is fresh from a European tour and who has just won the People Choice Award at the ‘Las Vegas Magic Awards’.
On Sunday evening, it’s back to the Town Hall for a Music Hall theme, with more live cabaret with satirical songs from Des O’Connor and his Banjo Bedlam, The Butterfly Girl and Frayed Knot Circus, along with Accordion Antics with Chester’s own Matt Baker. This is an over 18s event and ticket are priced at £15.
Neil Kendall, who is producing the whole weekend, said: “We have international acts representing the very best in world variety at the festival and it is a huge coup to have them all together for one weekend. It promises to be a great show.
“This is a very rare opportunity to see the best international artists in vaudeville entertainment in the beautiful city of Chester and a weekend that European cities would be jealous of.”
Tickets are on sale now and can be bought online at the website www.chesterfestivals.co.uk or by phoning 0845 241 7868.
MBNA Chestival is a 44-day long festival that celebrates Chester’s best events and festivals and starts on Saturday, June 4 to Saturday, July 16. For the full programme visit the website www.chesterfestivals.co.uk.