Print this page

"Oh Boy!" Stage Show

Sunday 25th January to Friday 30th January 1959,
Commodore Theatre,
Hammersmith,
West London.

"The screams and hysteria from the audience was such I was amazed they could hear anything at all.”

(Vernons Girl Barbara Mitchell)

['Oh Boy!' Stage Show - Commodore Theatre, Hammersmith, West London. January 1959]

A look at the "Oh Boy!" stage show by Paul Rumbol, including an extract of an exclusive recent interview with Barbara Mitchell, spokeswoman for the Vernons Girls:

For 7 days in January 1959 a stage show of “Oh Boy!” took up residence at the Commodore Theatre in Hammersmith, West London. There were two shows performed on the first Sunday (25th) at 5pm and 8pm and one show nightly for the remainder of the week at 7.45pm. it featured all the biggest star names the series had created in just three short months on television.

Someone fortunate to have gone to one of those shows on a cold wet January evening was Paul Nihill MBE. He recalls:

“We were treated to a non stop extravaganza of British Rock 'n' Roll at its very best. Cliff complete in his pink jacket etc. really rocked the joint, ably backed by Lord Rockingham's X1 and assisted by The Dallas Boys and the Vernons Girls. Also on the bill, I got the chance to see for the first time Vince Taylor & his Playboys - wow - they were hot. After the show finished, I travelled on the tube train with Vince and he certainly gave me the impression he was American, which of course he wasn't, but he was a great rocker.”

Also on the bill was Cuddly Dudley, Neville Taylor and his Cutters, Peter Elliott and the Vernons Girls.

Barbara Mitchell, known as the “blonde bombshell” and for many years the spokeswoman for the group, recalls those shows:

“Boy they were truly exciting days. The crowds just went wild and all the acts we had were really good, very hot, and the routines so well polished. During the TV transmissions at Hackney the audience was just confined to the balcony and what with all the stage lighting in our eyes all we could see were lots of frantic kids jumping up and down in the balcony. Then we took up this week long residence at Hammersmith where we played to a packed house every evening. The screams and hysteria from the audience was such I was amazed they could hear anything at all.”

“I will always remember that first night at Hammersmith because among the new numbers we performed were “To Know Him Is to Love Him” which I sang with two of the other girls, and on the first house it went wrong. Something didn’t sound right. So we had to have a frantic run through with the band to get it right in just half an hour before the second show at 8pm.”

[Very few photographic memories have surfaced of the Hammersmith concerts
except this revealing snap of an 18 year old Cliff Richard performing his first
hit “Move It!” while being kept at safe distance from the frenzied
audience by the bouncers at the front of the stage.]
 

(To read the rest of the interview, please go to 'Vernons Girls page')

 

Read 2849 times Last modified on Tuesday, 04 October 2016 15:43

2 comments