As those of us who knew him will testify, Alain Smith was a towering force on the Island’s theatre scene. A professional dancer and choreographer, he was always ready to lend his advice to any show requiring some dance steps: just days before his sad death from a heart attack in January 2016, he was demonstrating dance moves to help the Apollo Youth Theatre prepare for a show.
He was also a talented actor and director, appearing in roles as diverse as Cardinal Richelieu, Dracula and an evil pantomime butcher! He is remembered with great affection, as this show staged at The Apollo, dedicated to him and in support of the British Heart Foundation, demonstrates.
The show itself, directed by Helen Clinton-Pacey, is a fond nod to that doyenne of Saturday evening variety entertainment, ‘The Good Old Days’, itself a nostalgic derivation of the Victorian music hall tradition. Our compère for the evening was Michael Arnell, himself an accomplished singer and dancer, as seen in his rendition of ‘Strollin’’ with the equally talented Paul Stevens, who also treated us to solo singing performances.
There were ensemble pieces – songs and skits – as well as a variety of songs, dances, monologues and comedy contributed by the large cast, culminating in a wonderful Marie Lloyd – inspired solo performance from John Abraham, who also choreographed the show, which was followed by Paul Stevens’ rendition of ‘The Night I Appeared as Macbeth’ from ‘The Shakespeare Revue’, the last show Alain directed at The Apollo Theatre, leading into an audience-participation sing-song as a finale.
The audience appreciation was plain to see from the laughter, singing along and delighted faces seen leaving the theatre after the show.
Submitted by Maureen Sullivan