Alan Price, “Kelly”, South Shields Marine & Technical College, 17th July 1977

Alan Price, “Kelly”, South Shields Marine & Technical College, 17th July 1977kellyprog
This was the first performance of “Kelly”, a musical play co-written by Alan Price and Tom Kelly in 1977. Kelly was based on the story of the Second World War warship HMS Kelly, which was sunk off the coast of Crete in 1941 while captained by The Queen’s cousin, Lord Louis Mountbatten. HMS Kelly was a destroyer of the British Royal Navy. She was built by Hawthorn Leslie and Company at Hebburn on the River Tyne in 1937, launched in 1938 and commissioned in 1939, just before the commencement of the war. She was named after Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Kelly.
The musical Kelly was staged at South Shields Marine & Technical College (now South Tyneside College) and the rehearsals for the show were also filmed for a documentary, which was later shown on BBC TV. The performance featured a group of young local actors, some of whom were to go on to gain fame locally, including Ray Spencer, who is now director of the Customs House in South Shields, and Peter McIntyre, who is one half of the Maxie and Mitch comedy duo.kelly Tom Kelly also directed the stage show. Tom now writes full-time and works on creative writing projects, most recently ‘Men of the Tyne,’ for the Customs House commemorating those who worked on the river through monologues, songs and film. The Kelly show was part of the local celebrations for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.
The show was in two parts. The first part was the performance of Kelly, and the second a performance by Alan Price and his band, during which he performed hits such as Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear, The House that Jack Built and The Jarrow Song. I went with a few mates, and it was an interesting and quite different performance to the rock concerts that we were used to attending at the time, and a very welcome change.
Cast: Narrator: Alan Price; Elsie: Iris Johnson; Bill: Jim Greaves; Jack: Bob Stott; Jimmy: Ray Spencer; Recruiting Officer: Ron Ainley; Kathleen: Elizabeth Ayre.
Music: The Alan Price Band; the South Shields Male Voice Choir; The Vintage Trad Jazz Band; Malcolm and Maxie.
The programme says of Alan Price: 1977; And he’s still working and moving on and moving back to the North East. “Will you do a concert for the Jubilee? No – we’ll do something more; and the “Kelly” is launched”.

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