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  • Writer's pictureNeill Kovacic-Clarke



Pavilion Theatre - Westover Road, Bournemouth, BH1 2BU

Saturday 19th December 2020


This is a review I wrote for the Facebook page That'll Be The Day Fans of which I am creator and admin. It was written the day after they performed a socially distanced Christmas Show in Bournemouth in December 2020 which I was lucky enough to attend.

This was in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and was the only show they performed live in front of an audience between March 2020 and August 2021.

It is written in a slightly different style to my other reviews as it is written as if speaking to fellow fans of the show, many of whom I know personally.

I wanted to share this to give an example of my early reviews before I started this blog.


Last night was a momentous night in the history of That'll Be The Day as the cast took to the stage in front of a live audience for the first time since mid march.

Due to restrictions, there were many family, friends and fans that were unable to attend the socially distanced performance, but the fully masked 350 attendees made it feel like a full house. The atmosphere was that electric.

Writer and director Trevor Payne introduced the show which began with a lovely video of The Snowman which was recorded as part of the new DVD. This video features some of the TBTD children with their mums and dads and Walking In The Air is performed flawlessly by Jane Watkins. It was lovely for the fans to see Jane who was not on the stage last night as she has just left the company as she is expecting a baby which is due very soon.

After the video, the band leaped into action to get us in the Christmas spirit with their overture and as soon as the frontline entered the stage, the audience went wild and the party really started as they sang a rock and roll Christmas medley.

A stalwart of the Christmas Show every year is the Juke Box Jury section which is a great kick start to the show. Three great songs were chosen which was closed by Jarrod Loughlin and Ollie Gray giving an absolutely stunning rendition of Like Strangers by The Everly Brothers.

Back for one night only in place of Jane was fan favourite Jodie Lawson. Jodie brought her usual elegance to The Christmas Song and All Alone On Christmas (looking absolutely gorgeous) as well as a truly emotional rendition of Going Back supported by Phil Hollander on keys. The infamous collection of images shown during the song have now been updated with Jodie and Ollie's beautiful children Jackson and Everly.

Gary Anderson was on great form as Harold Steptoe (don't change the script!) and we were treated to some smooth performances of Lonely This Christmas and Come On Over To My Place as well as the triumphant return of character Alfie Pillock singing Nessun Dorma.

Boss man Trevor is the perfect comedy partner for Gary and the audience always loves their double act. Trevor also had the audience swaying and singing along to White Christmas and Mistletoe and Wine.

Nikki Renee Hechavarria was on top form and used her powerful instrument to bring us two classics from Darlene Love Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) and Marshmallow World. She also led the company in a festive tribute to Boney M culminating with Mary's Boy Child.

Jarrod Loughlin stretched his crooner vocal chords to bring us It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas as well as performing From Russia With Love in a moving tribute to the late Sir Sean Connery.

Ollie Gray led the band to a festive medley of hits from The Shadows as well as Jingle Banjos and Must Be Santa. He also treated us to his bluesy version of Please Come Home For Christmas.

Mark Street also came out from behind his drums to give us his rendition of Holly Jolly Christmas and Clive Fishlock's versatility was shown off to its fullest with his huge array of instruments, his Russian dancing skills (yes really!) and his singing talent.

We were also treated to a guest appearance by TBTD founder cast member Julia Greenham who looked elegant as ever and performed her rendition of Santa Baby.

The eagle eyed amongst you may have also spotted former cast members Katie Lawson (Jodie's sister) and Kate Gray (Ollie's mum) in the audience!

By the finale emotions were running high and you could really see how much this meant to every member of the cast.

This was a very different production than we're used to. The show ran for two hours with no interval and the audience kept their masks on for the whole performance. We did have a socially distanced boogie at the end though!

There was obviously no collection at the end, we were straight out of the theatre and Caroline and the One Knight Only Merchandise team were out in the car park!

Thank you so much to Trevor and the entire cast and phenomenal crew for all your hard work in putting this show together. This was about more than making money. This experience was so good for the mental health of the cast and fans alike and I'm getting emotional as I write this. This was the perfect end to 2020.

For those of us that was there, it was truly an experience we will never forget. Special shout out to all the fans who were unable to attend for many reasons. I think we cheered enough for all of you!

Fingers crossed that That'll Be The Day will be able to return to theatres around the country very soon.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my fellow fans a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.

Stay safe and I look forward to seeing lots of you next year.

Neill Kovacic-Clarke

Please note: all views are my own and I pride myself on being honest and free from influence.


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