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The Empire Strikes Back


The bar of The Royal Oak, late evening. A dilemma. What to do next? Alan suggested an old time music hall Cliff asked if it could have a twist. And here it is – The Good Old Days with– with a double twist - for the first time ever CADS uses a live band – we are delighted to welcome the Tacet Team, a versatile local brass ensemble, complemented by friends from the Andover Light Orchestra.

The Plot

We are in London in the Swinging Sixties. The Balham Empire Palace of Varieties, the last working Music Hall has fallen on hard times and the nasty landlords want to tear it down and put up a shopping centre. The Friends, something of a Carry On themselves, are appalled. They are determined to save the theatre by creating a Museum/Tourist Attraction – to be for Music Hall what the Globe Theatre has become for Shakespeare. To achieve that they need an Arts Council grant and to win that they need to impress the awards committee with a really good show. Their problem is that there aren’t many great acts left.

Auditions are held but you will see who turns up. It looks like Tesco will soon take over. Like many theatres, Bally as the friends call the Empire, known in it’s heyday as “The Bally Pally”, has a resident ghost as well as it’s own spirit. And this ghost is very strong willed – it’s the ghost of Marie Lloyd. Marie decides to lend a helping hand.

But how? Seems that the best way is to enlist the help of a few other ghosts – the spirits of the cream of the music hall.