PICTURE GALLERY: Big show proves a fitting stage farewell for former Aylesbury panto star Gordon

Gordon's Big Show at the Court Theatre, Tring
Gordon's Big Show at the Court Theatre, Tring

A big show to celebrate former Aylesbury panto star Gordon Bishop was held at Pendley Theatre in Tring on February 18.

As we reported earlier this month Gordon’s daughter Grace Bishop organised this night of entertainment after her father learned that the cancer he had lived with since 2010 had spread to his brain.

The highlight of the night was Gordon performing an act based around 1940s comedian Max Miller while he combined on stage with his daughter Grace for a performance from the musical Annie.

So far through donations on the night and the JustGiving page the family have raised more than £2,000.

The show proved a tremendous success although as Grace explained, the main man almost did not show up!

She said: “As we rehearsed at the theatre Dad spent the day in hospital.

“A handful of us knew but to keep the morale up I didn’t tell the majority of the cast who were working so hard to make the show happen.

“Time was ticking away and I was getting more and more worried that the show was going to end up turning into nothing but a video to show him later!

“At the 11th hour he got out of hospital and made it to the theatre.”

Among the performers were The Three Belles, a female trio inspired by The Andrew Sisters and a 50-strong ensemble who performed ‘Consider Yourself’ from Oliver.

Grace said: “Except for when my dad performed his pieces he sat on the front row, waving his hat every time his name was mentioned, to tremendous cheers from the packed audience.

“Dad performed his Max Miller set and a song with me.

“We also projected video footage of him in his younger days singing.

“We had a ten piece band as well as three pianists, we had people performing dad’s comedy monologues, we had people performing scenes, we had comedy songs and beautiful ballads all strung brilliantly together with our MC Jo Parsons.

“Highlights of the evening included acts as varied as West End Star Brian Gilligan singing Bat out of Hell to The Children of Dad’s music hall troupe coming together to do some of the old songs.

“To top the night off we had a very moving speech about Dad’s legacy and the importance of theatre from the Mayor Of Aylesbury Tom Hunter Watts, who joined us in his official capacity alongside his mother, a fellow performer and close friend of my father.”

After the show itself, audience members and the cast enjoyed live music courtesy of Jersey Boys tribute band ‘The Other Guys.’

Grace added: “The atmosphere was like nothing that I had ever experienced.

“People had travelled the length and breadth of the country to be there.

“People from all walks of my dads life were there celebrating with us- many of whom he had not seen for decades.

“It was a night none of us will ever forget.”

The money raised so far will go towards covering expenses for the show with the rest being put towards some memorable experiences for Gordon.

Grace said: “Some of the thoughts we’ve had at the moment are to put it towards a family holiday, to get tickets for a family trip to see Watford FC play, becauses he is a life long Watford supporter and also to travel to and from the West End so he can go and see a show there.”

To donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/gordonsbigshow