There is no one like our Dave


Well I thought I would write a small blog about my experience this past Sunday.


I was asked back in February by Paul Hendy (Evolution Pantomimes) if I would want to take part in a memorial concert for the late great Mr Dave Lee, he was planning to get some of the countries dames together to do a song and dance in tribute to one of our favorite fat bloke in a dress.  And How could I say no.


At this point I don't think I realised how big this was going to be.  But as things went on I realised it wasn't going to be just a small concert. I had an email telling me I would be sharing the stage with some of my favorite dames, as well as comedians and singers from across the country, all willing to give up their time to show their respects and raise money for Dave Lee and his charity! People like Joe Pasquale, Bradley Walsh and Jim Davidson would be on stage with me.


On Saturday Night I had been DJ’ing up in Southport for a very good friends wedding, it was a beautiful day and a great evening (the music helped ;) ) But after finishing my gig in Southport I had to get home to Birmingham, I managed to get 3 hours sleep before I had to leave first thing Sunday morning.


So Sunday morning came and my car was packed with all the essentials to turn me into Widow Twankey, Boobs, Body Stocking, more tights that is strictly necessary, makeup, costume and wig - and probably some other stuff too. And off I go down to Canterbury, after only 3 hours sleep and a bowl of cereal to keep me going!


I arrived down in Canterbury at the Marlowe theatre looking forward to meeting the other dames, this is highly unusual, as usually we are lucky if we manage to see each other over the panto run at all, so to have 10 dames in a room, doing the same thing in costume, is not really heard of. Us Dames are lone operators and not used to working with other “Fat blokes in dresses” - So who was there? The Ten (as I will no refer to us as- á la Lord of the Rings) were - Myself, Damian Williams (Sheffield's favorite dame) Michael Batchelor + Ian Smith the Glam Sisters, Martin Ramsdin (one half on the Qdos Ugly Sisters) Antony Stuart-Hicks, Nick Wilton, Ben Roddy and Brad Fitt and a choreographer Paul Tracy dressed up too.



(An action shot left to right Antony Stuart-Hicks, Paul Tracy, Brad Fitt, Damian Williams, Michael Batchelor, Nick Wilton and Sam Rabone)


So once we all arrived and dropped costumes and wigs off etc into our dressing room, we headed up to the rehearsal space, and then had a catch up, bare in mind this was probably the first time all 10 of would have been in the same room together, so once we started we really had to pull ourselves together to start rehearsing the song and dance we were doing.  Paul Hendy had changed the words of “There is nothing like a Dame” to “Theres nothing like our Dave!”  So after a bit more chat we got things going, with a lot of laughs thrown in between box steps and shadow steps!


So after 4 hours of rehearsing and laughing, and wishing the whole thing was being filmed for a documentary, as it would have made brilliant telly; the ten of us headed over the road to one of the local pubs for a lovely Sunday Roast, (As Fat Blokes in dresses - lunch is important) It was good to have a chat and a catch up over food without sweating over a shadow/box step or switch turn!


Then back to the theatre for our tech run, which seemed to go ok, after the third run! After our tech run it was time to get ready, it was strange for us really, normally in the theatre you get a half hour call before curtain up, as a Dame I would have started getting ready at this point but as we weren’t on until the second half we didn't really need to start getting ready for a while, but that felt wrong and all ten of us were slightly on edge as we could hear the show happening but we weren’t doing anything.

(2 Action shots from the evening Roughly in order Antony Stuart-Hicks Paul Tracy, Brad Fitt, Ian Smith, Damian Williams, Michael Batchelor, Nick Wilton Sam Rabone, Ben Roddy and Martin Ramsdin)


So then we get ready, and run through the routine once more, and then we get called! We have Jim Davidson, Bradley Walsh and Shaun Williamson standing in the wing egging us on! And Paul Hendy then introduces us, and there is no turning back! So on we go and everything seems to happen in such a whirl, but we do it! We finish it and thankfully there is clapping!


So there you go, 10 dames on one stage, unless the Royal Variety ring I’m not sure it will happen again for a very long time.  Paul Hendy made it possible, we thank him for that, it was such a unique and a wonderful experience and a pleasure to be a part of! But the most important thing to remember is what we all did it for, and that was to remember the great “Fat man in a Dress” the one and only Mr Dave Lee, who no doubt if he had seen us in the wings would have been laughing his head off at us!! God Bless you Mr Lee, and hopefully your charity Dave’s Happy Holiday will have got the money it deserves from the night!

(The Beverly Sisters, Two Twankeys and a Sister, ASH, Martin Ramsdin and Sam Rabone)



To my fellow Dames I thank you for making it such a wonderful and memorable day! - It was strange as for 3 years we had all been speaking on twitter and Facebook, but never once had there been a meeting like it!


It was a pleasure to be a part of the night! And I hope Dave’s Happy Holidays continues to do what it has done so well for years!!


Cheers everyone!! And a Special Thanks to Paul Hendy for arranging it all!!


Sam xx