Double Acts - Pantomime Pairings

We salute the double acts of pantomime- performers who appear each year in pantomime with their stage partners, who share the roles of broker’s men, Chinese policemen, captain and mate, ugly sisters year after year. In some cases they are colleagues, in others they are siblings, or husbands and wives who share the same spotlight night after night.


There is a comedy duo who tour with me regularly. They are the Simmons Brothers, and are two very funny guys who never fail to have the audience in raptures of laughter (Sir Norman Wisdom in his book “’Cos I’m A Fool”).

The Funniest Act In Captivity”- Ken Dodd OBE.

Keith and Alan Simmons were born in Kent . Both their parents were musicians. They began their careers recording for Pye Records in 1966. They first took their comedy double act into Pantomime in 1968, at the Theatre Royal Bath, appearing in “Puss In Boots”. Their act in panto was in the tradition of Jewel & Warris, although Keith and Alan created their own brand of comedy, with a strong element of visual gags and props. Not surprisingly their heroes are Laurel & Hardy! The superb “escapology” routine is a pantomime classic, with Alan in the role of “Straight “man persuading Keith to be tied up in a sack, from which he will have no trouble escaping from. To the delight of a full house Keith has a great deal of trouble emerging from the sack, but only after every ounce of comic potential has been pursued.

Their careers have taken them to pantomimes all over the country. Recently in Swansea and Nottingham , and they have delighted Summer Season audiences throughout the UK and abroad on cruise liners. They have toured with major stars, including Brian Conley (who Keith writes for) Ken Dodd, Norman Wisdom, Max Bygraves and have made numerous appearances for Royalty.

The Simmons brothers, Alan and Keith who retired as a “Double” giving their last performance as Captain & Mate, after thirty five years, in the Birmingham Hippodrome’s “Dick Whittington” in 2001/2. Keith continues his busy schedule as scriptwriter and director, as well as fulfilling his weighty commitments to the theatrical charitable organisation, The Grand Order of Water Rats. Alan oversees the running of a large “Character” agency, supplying larger than life characters to events and promotions. In the 2005/6 season a 'new' Simmons partnership was born 'Simmons and Simmons' - Keith and his son Ben appeared for the first time in Crawley, and have now gone on to appear for three consecutive seasons in Derby.

This photograph appears with the kind permission of Qdos Entertainment plc






JEWEL & WARRISS  -“Gems of Comedy”  

Jimmy Jewel and Ben Warris were cousins, born in Sheffield . Jimmy was born 1906 the son of a Yorkshire comedian and prop maker. His cousin Ben was born in 1909. Both of them began solo careers, Jimmy apprenticed to his father made his London debut in 1925, at the Bedford , Camden Town . Ben appeared in London five years later.


Jewell and Warriss

They teamed up in 1934, and formed a double act that was to make them the highest paid “Double” by the early 1950’s. By the time they broke up the act they had appeared in 7 Royal Variety performances, 12 Blackpool Summer Seasons, and had made their mark as seasoned pantomime stars. They appeared as The Robbers in Tom Arnold’s “Babes In The Wood” at the Palace Manchester, and in The London Palladium’s “Babes In The Wood” the following year in 1950.

They adopted the comedic double persona of the Smart “Know-it-all” and the loveable “Daft” one, with situations rather than sketches written for them. Their radio series “Up The Pole” made them huge stars during its run from 1947-1952. In 1950 Jewel and Warris made the film of “Up the pole”. By 1966 the variety theatres were few and far between, and the act ended. Ben continued in Music Hall and solo pantomime, while Jimmy began a new phase in his career- one that was to eventually team him up with Comedienne Hylda Baker in the Television comedy “Nearest & Dearest”, along with its spin-off stage shows. Jimmy and Hilda were far from Nearest and dearest to each other, and playing brother and sister in their fictional pickle factory  they barely spoke to each other off camera. Ben died in 1993, and Jimmy, now very well off, in 1995. During their pantomime years they became the definitive Good and Bad Robbers, forming a style that was to be taken on later by the brothers Mike & Bernie Winters.


The Brothers were born in London ’s East End , Mike in 1929, and Bernie in 1930. They began their careers teaming up as a musical act, before splitting up to pursue solo work. During their Double careers they were to split and reform several times. Originally Mike had begun to do comedy, but decided Bernie was the natural one. In his floppy hat and broad “Daft” grin, they again became the perfect foil. The sophisticated smart one, and the dim witted one with the bashful persona. They excelled as Chinese policemen in “Aladdin” and as Broker’s men in “Cinderella”- they topped the bill for Derek Salberg at the Birmingham Alexandra Theatre in 1959 in that role, and at the London Palladium in 1962  where they teamed up with Frankie Vaughan to play the three Miller’s Sons.

Mike & Bernie achieved success in television, with appearances at the Royal Command Performance in 1962. Mike was later to move to America to become a manager, while Bernie created a solo career in television, later teaming up with “Schnorbitz”, the St. Bernard who joined him on frequent television shows. Bernie appeared on stage as Bud Flanagan in the musical “Underneath The Arches”.


Mike and Albie are cousins, the sons of a variety double act themselves, Syd and Max Harrison. Born in 1935 while their respective fathers were touring the variety circuit. Hope & Keen bring to their strong double act a plethora of skills-singers, dancers, acrobats and multi instrumentalist. Their physical skills are obvious when they appear in pantomime, usually presenting their comedy duelling scene as good and bad robber, or as Captain and Mate.

Hope and Keen began their act in 1956, shortly after leaving the RAF. Within two years they were doing a summer season at the London Palladium. They appeared in a Royal Command Performance, followed by seasons in the West End , and their own TV series on ITV and five for BBC. In the late eighties they appeared in America , and performed in Las Vegas for three months, returning to pantomimes in which they continue to bring their zany brand of comedy and honed skills.

Provided by and used with permission of The Stafford Gatehouse Theatre

REVNELL & WEST- “The Long and the Short of it”

Ethel Revnell and Gracie West were a popular female double act. Ethel was just over six feet tall, while Gracie was considerably shorter, at just under five feet. They began their career in Concert party. Their most popular variety characters were “Ethel & Gracie”, malevolent cockney schoolgirls. As a result of this they appeared as comic “Babes” in “Babes in The Wood”, and later as The Ugly Sisters in the Drury Lane pantomime, “Cinderella” in 1934. In this production the Baron’s name was changed to accommodate the “Long & The Short” ladies playing sisters. Instead of being Baron Hardup, he became Baron Mumm. That way his “Daughters” could be called Maxi and Mini!

Gracie retired in 1953, but Ethel continued in variety, and played female Dame in pantomime. Ethel died in 1978 and Gracie in 1989.

We are very grateful to Lucinda Henderson for clarification of information in this section.





Lauri Lupino LaneLauri was born into one of the theatrical dynasties- a theatrical family that became prominent in the UK during the seventeenth century. He was the only son of Lupino Lane . His Uncle was Stanley Lupino, and his cousin the film star Ida Lupino. On tour Lauri played his father’s famous role in “Me and My Girl”. The Lupino family were involved in pantomime from its earliest days, and the art of slapstick comedy was handed down. When Lauri teamed up with George , a member of the famous Truzzi circus family they revived routines not seen since Music Hall. Lauri was born in 1922, and first appeared onstage at the age of eight. George had been in circus and variety from childhood.

George started his career as a trick rider in a Paris Circus, at the age of eight. By the time he met Lauri he was skilled in most circus acts. They met when George was appearing in Lauri’s father in pantomime. Later he was to team up with Lauri on tour with “ Down Lambeth Way

Lauri’s skills in slapstick, and George’s circus and juggling talents made them a formidable double act in pantomime and variety. They excelled in “Slosh”, that messy but hilarious part of pantomime hardly seen today. They performed a “Flying Ballet” as policemen at the Adelphi Theatre, as devised by Lupino Lane . Lauri & George had performed this in Cliff Gwillam’s “Aladdin” at the Theatre Royal, Exeter in 1952. Lauri playing “Wishee” and George “Washee”. Jack Hylton presented them in “Aladdin” at Golders Green, again as “Wishee” & “Washee” with the newcomer Dick Emery as Dame.

Previously Lauri had performed his routines with his Uncle Wally, making a big impression at the Birmingham Alexandra pantomime in 1947. Lauri and George appeared together in “You’ll be lucky” at the Adelphi Theatre in 1954,and were both featured as comedians in the Charlie Chaplin film “A King In New York”, filmed in London in 1957.

Lauri later appeared at the Palladium in “Aladdin” with Cilla Black in 1970, where he recreated the famous “Slosh” routines ,followed by an appearance in “Carry on Loving”, and “Confessions of a Holiday Camp” as the Mayor, in 1977. George appeared in “Carry On London” for several years at the Victoria Palace , opening in 1973.

Lauri died in 1986, and George at Brinsworth House, the variety artistes home in 1995.

George Truzzi

 THE KRANKIES- “Fan-Dabbi-Dozi!”

Husband and wife, Ian and Janette Tough met while Janette was appearing at the Glasgow pavilion as a dancer. Ian Tough was the Theatre electrician. They formed a song and dance act to begin with, until creating the character of “Wee Jimmy Krankie” for Janette, who at 4’5” could play the naughty schoolboy to Ian’s disapproving and long suffering persona.

By 1978 after touring the Northern club circuit and appearing in various shows and seasons, they were given the “Club act of the Year” award, which led to Lord Delfont offering them a spot in the Royal Variety Show that same year. Since then Janette and Ian have appeared in seven Royal Command shows, including the first Children’s Variety show. Television followed, with appearances on BBC’s “Crackerjack” leading to their own series of “Krankie’s Club”, ”Joke Machine”, “Krankies Elektronik Komik” and “Krankies TV” series. Frequently Ian plays Dame to “Jimmy’s” Wishee Washee, or “Aladdin”, they have topped the bills of pantomimes throughout the country, and tour with their own variety shows, tailored to Janette’s appearances as “Wee Jimmy” but including impersonations of Madonna and Batman, as well as reviving the song and dance act that began their joint careers. They were featured in a French & Saunders sketch, loosely based on “Silence of the Lambs”, discovered, along with fellow comics Bernie Clifton, Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee to be inmates of a top security prison, calling out their combined catchphrases to anyone who would listen.

The character of “Jimmy Krankie” in many ways revives memories of the pint sized Jimmy Clitheroe, and the style of Janettes comedy is sheer anarchy. Jimmy epitomises the “Naughtiness” of children, and has a direct appeal to them as a far as children are concerned, Jimmy is simply “FanDabbiDozy!”.




Rotherham born Paul and Barry “Chuckle” were from a show business family of eight. Christened Paul and Barry Elliott, they were to become firstly “The Harman Brothers”, and forge a successful career in pantomime, and later became “The Chuckle Brothers”, bill toppers in Pantomime and stalwarts of children’s television.

Barry was the first to go into variety, joining “The Singing Scholars” group, a group that also included Freddie Starr. He later joined up with brother Paul, as they had always planned to become the Harmans. 1974 saw them winning the television “New Faces” show, and appearances on BBC’s “Crackerjack”, and the Stu Francis tour of the “Crackerjack” stage shows. They appeared  with Ted Rogers in “321” performing the Wilson Keppel Sand dance, and appeared in summer shows and pantomimes around the country.

The turning point came with their appearances on BBC’s “Chucklehounds”, followed in 1987 with their own “Chucklevision” television series. The simplistic silliness and visual style of “The Chuckles” appeals very much to children. Their catchphrase “To Me, To You” became the title of one of their tours, along with their Summer Roadshow and “Live and In Trouble” tours.

The Chuckles are deeply rooted in live theatre, and continue to top the bill in pantomimes – recently appearing at the Civic Darlington along with their brothers- “The Pattons”, making a double-double act. In 1996 they starred at the Birmingham Hippodrome panto, and the following year at the Lyceum, Sheffield .

In 2007 they were made presidents of Rotherham Football Club.

See our new article - Spotlight on......The Chuckle Brothers


Syd Little and Eddie Large are still bill toppers in Pantomime approaching their 40th year together as a double act. Last year they appeared at the New Theatre, Hull .

Syd & Eddie got together in the club circuit in 1963. They began working on a semi-pro basis as Cyril Mead (Syd) and Friend (Eddie), then Syd and Eddie, and finally “Little and Large” for their winning appearance on TV’s “Opportunity Knocks” talent show.

“We were working on a semi-professional basis long before we decided to take the plunge and turn professional”, said Eddie. “I was an apprentice electrician and Syd was a painter and decorator”. In 1963 they turned professional, appeared on “Opportunity Knocks” and won the show in 1971.

“The Little and Large” show ran on television for fourteen years, assuring them of top of the bill status in Summer season and pantomimes. In the mid 90’s they opened “The Paradise Rooms”, Blackpool pleasure beach, and returned to do several seasons there. Their Panto subjects include “Jack & The Beanstalk”, “Aladdin” and “Goldilocks”. In 1998 they starred at Stoke in “Robin Hood” as the robbers, the following year at Liverpool Royal Court in the same roles, and more recently The Beck in Hayes and Hull . Their comedy style is, as one would expect the straight man, Syd and the cheeky one, Eddie, who rarely lets Syd get through a ballad without interrupting, disrupting and causing comic chaos.



Arthur Lucan and Kitty McShane. Not strictly a “Pantomime” double act, as they rarely appeared in a pantomime, preferring to tour the variety halls with their act, which was pure pantomime in itself. Arthur Lucan was the archetypal dame character, and his wife Kitty the “principal girl” in their “Mother-Daughter” sketches. Their most famous sketch was “Bridget’s Night Out”, which fortunately has survived on film. The sketch involves the long suffering Lucan waiting for “Me Daughter Kitty” to come home. When she does the sketch encompasses double talk comedy, pathos, and a large dose of pure slapstick as a row ensues. Lucan as his washerwoman character destroys every piece of china on the set- hurling plates, cups and jugs until one piece remains intact..until of course he forgets he’s holding it and smashes it. The moment he realises..not daring to look , holding just the handle as he feels for the non existent jug is pure theatrical magic.

On stage Mother Riley and Kitty were constantly rowing. Unfortunately, their off stage rows were bigger than anything they could ever hope to produce on stage. As the undoubted headliners of the Variety Circuit in the 1930’s and ‘40’s they were soon to become film stars. They were to make fifteen films, during which time Mother Riley went to Paris, became an MP, went into the army, ran a circus, was stranded in the jungle, and finally in 1952 scared the life out of Bela Lugosi as “The Vampire”! This last film was without Kitty, by now the on screen/stage relationship had become very bitter indeed.

Their Double act was formed in Ireland . Arthur Lucan was born Arthur Towle in Boston, Lincolnshire in 1887.He toured Ireland as a red nosed baggy trousered clown character, before meeting his subsequent partner, Kitty McShane (born Dublin 1897) in 1913.Arthur created their name “Lucan & McShane” after the Lucan Dairy in Dublin.

It was in a small Dublin pantomime that Lucan first put on the costume of the old Irish washerwoman. It was a character he would continue to play until his death in 1954.

The Dame in that panto was ill, and Lucan stepped into the role as Dame in “Little Jack Horner”. When they began touring their act their characters were simply “Mother” and “Kathleen”. They brought the act to England in 1919, with a “Family Row” sketch called “Come Over”. Arthur’s catchphrase to Kathleen was a constant “Come over..” An extract goes:

Mother             “And did he kiss you?”

Kathleen:          “Yes, and I liked it, and I kissed him back”

Mother:            “Come over…..WHERE did he kiss you?

Kathleen:          “Between the Post Office and the Railway Station”

Eventually renamed “Old Mother Riley and her Daughter, Kitty” they appeared at the Alhambra in London in 1925. By 1932 they were starring at the London Palladium, with a dishevelled Mother Riley claiming “Every man before wedlock should be padlocked!”

“Bridget’s Night Out” appeared in the Royal Command Performance of 1934. Mother Riley waits for her Daughter to return after a date..”She’s left me all alone and she knows I can only read the clock when it strikes!” The clock strikes….”Oh dear. It’s One O’Clock three times!”

By 1937 Lucan and McShane were top of the bill in every major variety house in the country. The first “Mother Riley” film was made. Lucan and McShane were among the highest paid entertainers in the land. On stage Kitty offers to stay at home with Mother. Mother decides to celebrate..”I’ll give you a party. I’ll open a tin of sardines!” Offstage Arthur was a careful man with his money, with the exception of spending it on alcohol. Kitty made wise investments with her share. As the years passed Arthur was to lose control of his money, his act, even his very name as Kitty took the reigns. By the end of his career Lucan didn’t even own the rights to call himself “Old Mother Riley”. Kitty was touring their sketches with Arthur’s former understudy, Roy Rolland. At one point there could be two “Old Mother Riley” shows touring the country- one with Kitty, one with Arthur.

Such was the case when Arthur met his end, collapsing in the wings of the Tivoli Theatre in Hull. His partnership with Kitty had broken up in 1951. By the time of their last film they would each come into the studio to record their shots on separate days to avoid speaking to each other. Kitty’s investments had fallen apart- a Beauty parlour she opened lost £40,000, and Arthur owed the Inland Revenue £15,000. Since 1951 He had paid Kitty three quarters of his income. Arthur began to slide into bankruptcy and the bottle.

During the stage “Pantomime” “Old Mother Riley In Paris” Arthur died of heart failure, just before his first entrance. Roland Watson, the chief electrician carried Arthur ‘s body to his dressing room, and Frank Seton, Arthur’s cover was told to get into costume immediately. Whilst attempts were made to telephone Kitty to break the news, Ellis Ashton playing the Mayor announced “A slight delay to the programme”. The show went on with the majority of the audience in ignorance. I have a revue from the paper the next day that begins “despite the tragic death of Arthur Lucan, “Old Mother Riley” it was a splendid show.. costumes bright and…” The show indeed must go on!

Arthur was buried in Hull in 1954, and Kitty continued to tour with Roy Rolland before retiring. She died ten years later in March, 1964. They leave behind a legacy of films and the memorable “Bridget’s Night Out” as an example of comic genius and timing at its zenith. In the 1980’s Maureen Lipman and Brian Murphy appeared as Lucan and McShane in the excellent play “On Your Way Riley!”

A bust of Arthur Lucan commemorating the exact spot where he died at the Tivoli Theatre in Hull. The theatre is now a Bakers Shop and Cafe

  MORECAMBE & WISE- “You can’t see the join”

Television history was made on 25th December, 1977 when over 28 million viewers switched on to BBC’s Morecambe & Wise show. Over half the British population watched Eric and Ernie. A far cry from their television show “Running Wild” in 1954- the revues ranged from “So feeble it’s a wonder the show can totter as far as our sets” to “The definition of a TV set? The box they buried Morecambe and Wise in”. Eric and Ernie were to remain the Kings of comedy double act from  1977 until Eric’s untimely death in 1984.

Shortly after the reviews of their 1954 television show Eric & Ernie were booked to appear in “Sinbad”, the pantomime at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham , along with George Lacy topping the bill as Dame. Receiving a call from a top management the conversation went “Hello,is that Morecambe and Wise?” reply “That depends. Have you got a Television set?” “No”. “Yes, then it is…”

Ernie: I’m not a complete fool.

Eric:   why, what part’s missing?

Born John Eric Bartholomew in 1926, Eric was to take the name of his hometown, Morecambe when he joined the variety circuit. Ernest Wiseman from Leeds was born 1925, and at one point they might have become “Morecambe and Leeds”. They became a double act in 1941, but were interrupted by war service, rejoining variety in 1947.Individually they had both appeared in Sid Field’s West End revue “Strike a New Note” and met in Lord Sangers Variety Circus, when Eric applied to be feed to the comic. That comic was the young Ernest Wiseman.

Ernie: What’s the matter with you?

Eric:    I’m an idiot. What’s your excuse?

Radio appearances included “Worker’s Playtime”, “Variety Fanfare”, leading to their own radio show “You’re only young once”. It was their appearance in 1960 on “Sunday Night at the London Palladium” that secured them their first television series. Eric and Ernie received the offer for a series and wisely consulted the great double act of the not so distant past, Jewell and Warris who instilled in them the need to have a top team of writers if they were to succeed. During their years of variety the performed pantomimes for Howard & Wyndham, were superb Broker’s Men in “Cinderella”, and starred at the Palace Theatre, Manchester in 1964.Television stardom drew them away from live theatre, where both Eric and Ernie had worked the length and breadth of the country. It was at the Roses Theatre Tewkesbury in 1984 that Eric Morecambe made his last appearance. Having suffered several heart attacks, he appeared at his old friend Stan Stennett’s Theatre, along with Alan Randall to appear in a staged “An audience with” type show. Eric sadly suffered a fatal heart attack, and died in the wings after the performance.

Ernie Wise continued in Theatre and television, appearing in “Run for your Wife” in the West End , and as Chairman in the shortly lived “Edwin Drood” musical at the Savoy Theatre. He made his first panto appearance without Eric at the Theatre Royal Windsor in 1993, playing the King. Ernie Wise died in 1999.


Stalwarts of the pantomime double act, Gordon and Bunny Jay appeared this year in Cinderella in Weston-Super-Mare and they have announced that 2005/6 will be their last pantomime season as performers. The brothers were born in Birmingham , and as their mother was “In the business” it was a case of “Following in Mother’s footsteps” from an early age. From dancing lessons and appearances in local theatres and charity shows they graduated to the world of variety, beginning with a dancing act that played in revue and on the variety circuit. With a leaning towards comedy, they established themselves as a comedy double, but due to their musical skills were able to add songs, dance and musical speciality into their act- to this day no-one can rival their skill with hand bells and even “musical Bottles”, and turn their hand to impressive soft shoe shuffle. They continue to be in demand for Summer season, cruises and pantomime with their unique style of double act.

The straight man, Gordon is constantly being harassed by the mischievous Bunny, and they posses a lighting fast quick fire “cross talk” that has made them pantomime favourites as Broker'’ men, robbers and Chinese policemen. At the New Theatre in Cardiff in 1982, with Ted Rogers, they illustrated  the way to make a first entrance that had the audience in fits before they spoke a word. Almost without exception they have appeared in pantomimes throughout the country, with every major comic and star. From Sandy Powell and John Hanson at Wimbledon in the 60’s to the London Palladium in 1977 with Yootha Joyce, Brian Murphy and Richard Hearne as the Broker’s Men in “Cinderella they have brought pantomime comedy into a fine art form. In recent years they have also played Ugly sisters as well as King and Dame in panto, and are recognised as a comic’s comic double act.

They performed in 52 pantomimes. First at Salford Hippodrome in 1953 and their final panto on 8th January 2006 at the Playhouse Theatre, Weston Super-Mare for Paul Holman in "Cinderella".


The recent death of Patrick Fyffe, aged sixty has robbed the world of theatre and pantomime of one half of a brilliant, sparkling double act. Patrick Fyffe (Dame Hilda Bracket) and George Logan (Dr. Evadne Hinge) were frequent visitors to the world of Pantomime. Patrick played Fairy Godmother in “Cinderella” at Southampton , Cardiff and Leeds , and together with “The Doctor” appeared in many productions of “Sleeping Beauty” as the good and bad fairies, and in Dick Whittington as Fairy and evil Queen Rat.

Patrick was born into a theatrical family in Stafford in 1946. His mother and Aunt were known as “The Terry Sisters”, and his father was also involved with the variety halls. Known as Perri Sinclair”, Patrick worked the circuit solo, until introduced to George Logan, a former computer programmer, as his accompanist. The seeds for the “act” were sown, and in 1974 they were launched at the Edinburgh Festival in “An Evening with Hinge and Bracket”.

Following their huge success, the show transferred to the Theatre Upstairs at the Royal Court , London , and then to the Mayfair and later the Ambassadors Theatre, in the West End . This was soon followed by a tour of Australia .

The BBC signed them up to appear in a regular radio series, “The Enchanting World of Hinge and Bracket” on Radio 4 in 1978-’79. In 1983 between touring they returned to radio in “The Random Jottings of Hinge and Bracket”, continuing while they made the first of two series for BBC2 “Dear Ladies”. Set in the fictional village of Stackton Tressel ”, the series was written by them, along with Giles Brandreth. They became famous as the faces of “Croft Original Sherry” on commercial television, starring in a series of adverts.

Hinge & Bracket appeared in two Royal Command performances- notably in1979, along with Yul Brynner, Carol Channing and Red Buttons, and in fifteen Royal occasions. The “Dear Ladies” were invited to appear at the Royal Opera House, appearing under the direction of Placido Domingo in “Die Fledermaus” with Dame Kiri te Kanawa, and Patrick was to appear as Ruth in “Pirates of Penzance” and as the spiteful Katisha in “The Mikado” in various productions, including Richmond and Wimbledon ’s Canizzaro Festival.

In the theatre they toured as Miss Prism (Evadne) and, naturally, Lady Bracknell (Dame Hilda) as well as touring in “Lettice and Lovage”. George Logan played Miss Marple in a tour of “Murder at the Vicarage”. Between their concert tours- magical events when Dame Hilda would burst into her version of “Gangway” believing herself to be Jessie Mathews, under the stern watchful gaze of the Doctor, they appeared in several pantomimes for E&B productions. Patrick was unable to complete rehearsals last season (2001/02) for his role in “The Sleeping Beauty” at Barnstaple , and passed away on May 11th, 2002 .

George Logan will doubtless be receiving the loud boos and delighted yells of children when he takes to the pantomime boards again as evil fairy, or Queen Rat, or his sinister but hysterically funny villainess in “Sleeping Beauty”.

Link to further information on Patrick including information on his Service of Celebration.









See our article on The Patton Brothers - 50 Years On!

THE BROTHERS OBO - 'The Laughing Comedians'

Edgar and Leolin (Jim) Lawrence

Edgar (1875 - ?) and Leolin (1872 - ?) Lawrence were born in Birmingham, at Sycamore Cottage, 170 Heathfield Road, Handsworth, the sons of a Marble Mason. In their early twenties, they decided to become performers, and joined a circus that took them on a tour of Ireland.

By the nineteen-teens, they were on the variety circuit with a comedy act, “The Bro’s Obo – The Popular Laughing Comedians”. They appeared in pantomimes frequently, often in the north, in Bradford and Leeds. The Bradford Pantos’ list on this Web site has them appearing in the 1915 Cinderella, the 1916 Dick Whittington, and the 1920 Aladdin.  While compiling the Howard & Wyndham page we find that they appeared in the 1908/9 Cinderella at the Theatre Royal Glasgow with George Robey. “Jim” is shown on the program cover of the Dick Whittington playbill for Bradford and Theatre Royal, Leeds on the “Mona Vivian page” of this Web site.

Pictured here are the postcards the brothers had printed of themselves in costume for these or similar performances. Edgar played the parts of Widow Twanky in Aladdin, and the Cook in Dick Whittington. Leolin played the Grand Vizir in and Wishee Washee in Aladdin. Both played the Ugly Sisters in two Cinderellas

By 1931, after 32 years on the road, they lamented the demise of Variety because of the introduction of the “talkies.” When they were in their fifties, they worked only occasionally. The panto season of 1930-31 was their last. They had saved enough during their career to retire comfortably. This information is from their letters to their brother Oliver in Illinois in 1930-31, when they were reunited by mail after 48 years.

Article and Pictures submitted by Sue Huitt, Great-niece of the Brothers Obo. Springfield, Illinois USA.

to be continued

This page was last updated 2nd April 2009

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