Fylde Coast Players will have a (Cannon and) Ball

Bobby Ball introduces his new play, Rock Off Tommy.
Bobby Ball introduces his new play, Rock Off Tommy.
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It’s a good job Tommy Cannon trusts his comedy partner.

He got a call from Bobby Ball recently and the conversation went like this: Bobby: “Hi Tom. We’re doing a play in Lytham.” Tom: “Are we?”

Bobby: “Yes”. Tom: “OK then”.

Then again, given the pair have been a double act for 51 years – much of that time spent on primetime television – it’s little wonder they get along so well.

This, though, is a bit of a new venture – Bobby’s first ever play.

And the man who lives in St Annes has decided there is no better place to launch his career as a playwright than on his own doorstep.

He has teamed up with Fylde Coast Players and the play – Rock Off Tommy – will be performed at Lowther Pavilion on four successive nights in February.

“I’ve been writing all my life. I wrote all the Cannon and Ball stuff, I’ve written songs – so it wasn’t too much of a stretch to write a play and it was something I enjoyed doing,” said Ball.

“It’s an hour and a half long and the plot is pretty simple – Tommy and I fall out. We split after many years together. They don’t know where I’ve gone, I’ve disappeared.

“Tommy opens a bar in Majorca and he doesn’t like comedy because I always got all the laughs. He books a turn at his bar, it turns out to be me, and that’s where all the fun starts.

“It’s a farce really. I have a part-time job as a funeral director, there are dead bodies floating about ... it’s going to be quite tricky to stage actually but thankfully that’s not my job, it’s the director’s!”

That director is Rosie Withers, who might be one of the most experienced members of Fylde Coast Players but admits to beings a little nervous about the task ahead.

“I am apprehensive because when someone like Bobby Ball allows you to do is play there is huge pressure to get it right,” she said.

“But we’re excited about it and delighted he chose us. I mean how many other professionals as successful as Cannon and Ball would give amateurs a chance like this, and to support a local theatre too.

“I think it is really wonderful of them to do this and it will be great fun working with them.”

Rehearsals are already under way. There is a cast of eight, including Cannon and Ball, though the main stars won’t actually be able to rehearse with their fellow stars until nearer the time.

“I’ve got to go to London to film a Christmas special of Not Going Out with Lee Mack and then we’re doing panto in Lincoln, so we won’t be available to join the Fylde Coast Players till a couple of weeks before the play is actually performed in front of an audience,” said Bobby. But we’ve got the script so Tommy and I will be spending all our breaks during the panto rehearsing this play.”

Rock Off Tommy is on at Lowther Pavilion in Lytham from February 5-8.

Tickets are £15 (£12 concessions) but there is an early bird discount for those who book before December 1 (£12 adults, £10 concessions).

Tickets are available from www.lowtherpavilion.co.uk or the box office on 01253 794221.

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