Ada’s handbag’s back

Cissie amd Ada
Cissie amd Ada
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We are in danger of going a bit Les Dawson mad at the moment.

We are in danger of going a bit Les Dawson mad at the moment.

Then again, who cares – after all, you can never have too much of a good thing.

This week marked 20 years since Les’s death. He was a man responsible for my favourite joke of all time - ‘the wife’s run off with the next door neighbour. I do miss him’.

ITV received huge viewing figures for An Audience That Never Was, an hour-long show screened a fortnight ago to coincide with the anniversary of his passing and featuring a hologram of the great man.

And now the Grand Theatre has joined in the celebration of St Annes’ finest by announcing a stage adaptation of Cissie and Ada.

For those too young to remember, they are the comic characters created by Les and his long-suffering sidekick Roy Barraclough in the 1970s - two old women who gossip over the garden wall and lower their voices to a whisper when discussing ailments (an idea based on the earlier comedy of variety star Norman Evans, who is buried at Carleton Crem).

Cissie and Ada An Hysterical Rectomy comes to the Grand for two nights, July 15 and 16, and features the original scripts by comedy writer Terry Ravenscroft. They are woven around Dawson’s later life story.

It’s quite fitting that it should be staged at the Grand, for Dawson and Barraclough performed as Cissie and Ada in the Laugh with Les Show as part of the theatre’s 1983 summer season. Back then, Les headlined a show that featured the Roly Polys, as well as singer Katie Budd and the Maurice Merry’s Musicmakers (a bonus point if you remember them).

Barraclough (dressed in drag as Cissie) then joined Les (Ada) on stage to perform a range sketches for the twice nightly shows. Dawson’s portrayal of Ada was memorable, not least for the trademark way her (or his) handbag remained tightly clutched to her waist in a manner suggesting infinite disapproval.

Fast forward three decades to this play, which will star two former Coronation Street favourites Eric Potts (Diggory) and Steven Arnold (Ashley), as well as Steve Nallon - famous for his Mrs Thatcher impersonation on Spitting Image.

Tickets for Cissie and Ada An Hysterical Rectomy are priced £12.50 and available from or by calling the box office on 01253 743339.