By Susan Brewer
I’m writing this blog on Oliver’s behalf, so I can explain just what the dressing up is all about!
It was Oliver’s idea, of course (it normally is), but in a way it was my fault for giving him a conjuring set for his birthday. In next to no time he was practising card tricks, producing coins from thin air, performing sleight of paw card tricks and bamboozling the others in the hug. (Not that it takes much to bamboozle them). I did have to draw the line when dear little Cutie appeared with sticking plaster on her arm, and whispered to me that Oliver had tried the ‘sawing a bear in half trick but it went a bit wrong’. I hurriedly had a few stern words with him and divested him of the saw from his junior carpenter’s set. However, on the whole I was amazed at how quickly he had learnt to ‘conjur’, as he called it.
Oliver’s inspirational idea was to hold a ‘Beariety Show’, and of course, when he announced his plan everyone wanted to take part. We had to hold auditions, rather like X Factor. To make it even posher, we decided to invite Prince and Princess Bruin, who accepted with alacrity, though it was probably the promise of eats afterwards, rather than the actual show, which prompted them to attend. Once rehearsals started I was pleasantly surprised to see the varied talents which the members of the hug revealed.
So, sit back, relax and enjoy the highlights of the Royal Beariety Show.
Royal Beariety Show
Held in the presence of Their Royal Hairinesses The Prince and Princess Bruin, at the Bearladium Theatre.
Admission free (Pay at the door!)The management respectfully requests that no honey, jam, marmalade or other sticky substances are brought into the auditorium.
ORDER OF EVENTS
The Master of Bearemonies welcomes Their Royal Hairinesses The Prince and Princess Bruin.
The Follies Beargere Girls – Direct from Paris, France
The Great Bearendo Conjurer – Astounding sleight of paw
Violinist Stradibearius – His music will bring tears to your eyes
Ventriloquist Kanu C Milipzmoove and his talking dummy, Bobby Braces
Jiggler the Juggler – A bear with dexterous paws
Bearie Lloyd – Our favourite Music Hall Star
Will Shakesbeare (and Agent)
The Spice Bears – Five bears with attitude
Corkscrew the Contortionist – Cubs, don’t try this at home!
Our very own Cheeky Chappie – Bear-faced cheek
Elvis – Get ready to swoon!
The Master of Bearemonies greeted the Royal Guests, Their Royal Hairiness Prince and Princess Bruin, before showing them to their seats.
First on were the girls from the Folies Beargere, who gave a spirited rendition of the Can Can (though one cheeky member of the audience was heard to mutter, ‘More like the Can’t Can’t’).
Next came Oliver as The Great Bearendo (See top picture). As he performed, the incredulous audience responded with gratifying gasps, even though they had watched him practising for weeks. Apart, that is, from one small bear in the front row who kept yelling ‘I saw how you did it!’ This naughty little bear was later ‘magicked’ head first into the conjuror’s top hat (once the rabbit had been produced), thankfully muffling the heckling, to the relief of the audience.
A short but sweet performance by our very own Stradibearius on his violin. He played, ‘The Teddy Bears Picnic’, which, with hindsight, perhaps wasn’t such a good choice. The Master of Bearemonies had to rush on to tell the audience it wasn’t supper time yet.
Then came the ventriloquist, Kanu C Milipzmoove. His dummy was ably played by dear little Bobby Braces, and if he helped out by speaking, no-one complained. In a complete reversal of the usual stunt, Bobby Braces ate a honey sandwich and drunk fizzy pop while Kanu continued to talk – the audience were flabbergasted, and the applause was stupendous.
None of us knew that Harry could juggle, but apparently he had been practising for ages with eggs, which explains the trail of egg yolk and broken shells I kept finding in the kitchen. I was under the impression we had weasels…. Harry juggled with a set of coloured balls in the show, as he couldn’t find any eggs. (I made an omelette earlier, I didn’t know they were needed as ‘props’.) He also produced a set of clubs, but unfortunately he threw them rather too high and one hit the Master of Bearemonies on the head, which didn’t go down too well (with the MB) though the audience loved it, thought it was part of the act and it was several minutes before order was restored).
Will Shakesbeare was on next, reciting a selection of the famous b(e)ard’s works. He began with ‘If honey be the food of love’, following up with ‘Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your bears’ before wowing the audience with several extracts from ‘The Merry Thoughts of Windsor’. Naturally, his agent was on hand throughout, partly to ensure his protégé remembered his lines, but mainly to ensure he received his ten per cent cut.
Now we had one of the show’s highlights – The Spice Bears. Ginger, Sporty, Scary, Posh and Baby were fantastic and deservedly received a huge round of applaws. Their versions of ‘Wanna Bear’ and ‘Spice Up Your Steiff’ had everyone stomping in the aisles, while Ginger’s tight and short union jack dress made the male bears whistle.
Then came Corkscrew, aka Clicker, our resident contortionist, to demonstrate his amazing flexibility. Robbie, in the back row, decided he could do just as well. Unfortunately, his leg jammed around the back of his head, and at the time of writing, we are still desperately trying to free him.
Naturally we couldn’t have a variety show without a comedian, and who better than our very own Cheeky Chappie? His jokes were corny, and we had all heard them hundreds of times before, but that didn’t matter. We still laughed when he said, ‘I say, I say, I say, why did the bear blush? Because he had a bear behind!’ Cheeky appeared with his pink zebra, who doubled as his stooge. ‘I say, I say, I say, what happened when the teddy saw the zebra crossing? He climbed onto its back and crossed safely!’
This was the one we had all been waiting for – Elvis, aka Oliver. He had the hip swivel, the curling lip and the toss of the head all off to a T, and as he strutted onto the stage several of the younger girly bears in the front row swooned. You should have heard him. From the opening strains of ‘Blue Suede Paws’ through to ‘I just want to be your Teddy Bear’, ‘Houndbear’, ‘Merrythought’s The Name Of His Latest Flame’, and the final ‘Jailhug Rock’, Oliver – sorry – Elvis, was magnificent. As the audience erupted, the Master of Bearemonies announced ‘Elvis has left the building’. Of course he had. He had raced next door where he was busy scoffing all the sausage rolls.
The general consensus was that it was a wonderful evening, and that the hug must do it again. Well, maybe they will. But not till next year. My nerves won’t stand it.
CAST LIST (in order of appearance)
Master of Bearemonies - Paddington
Prince Bruin - Prince Bourton
Princess Bruin - Ponkle
The Folies Beargere Girls - Hudson, Hardy, Hampton and Hieronymous
The Great Bearendo - Oliver
Stradibearius - Bobby Ganz
Kanu C Milipzmoove - Alfonso, and Dummy (Bobby Braces)
Jiggler the Juggler - Harry
Bearie Lloyd - Norah
Will Shakesbeare - Will, and Agent - Will Wannabe
Spice Girls - Blancmange (Posh), Macaroon (Scary), Patriotic Punk (Ginger), Baby Blancmange (Baby) and Tennyson (Sporty)
Corkscrew the Contortionist - Clicker
Cheeky Chappie - Bric-a-Brac
Elvis - Oliver