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Celebrate Armistice Day with British Humor in Alexandria - Source Connection news papers

Posted on Dec 05,2018
Filed Under Entertainment , Local Style,

MetroStage in Alexandria is presenting “Christmas at the Old Bull and Bush” from Nov. 29 to Dec. 30. Photo contributed

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By Steve Hibbard

ALEXANDRIA, VA. - “Christmas at the Old Bull and Bush,” written and directed by Catherine Flye, had a six-year run at the Old Vat Room at Arena Stage (1997-2003) before debuting at MetroStage last season. Two members of the original Bull and Bush cast will be joined by some new members of an eccentric British troupe to entertain audiences for the holidays. MetroStage is presenting the show again this year from Nov. 29 to Dec. 30.

“We love celebrating the holidays in the British tradition at the Old Bull and Bush. It is festive joyful, fun and a great outing for the whole family. This year, we have some new cast members and some returning, lots of songs, sketches, classic British humor, and a touching tribute to the centennial of Armistice Day ending WWI,” said Producing Artistic Director Carolyn Griffin.

The show offers British music hall entertainment from the Edwardian era that was a variety show for the working classes filled with jokes, songs, skits and dances. This production takes place during the Christmas season 1918, and The Old Bull and Bush Public House, Hampstead, London, is alive with British music hall songs and Christmas carols. Audiences will enjoy a pint or two, eat mince pies and sausage rolls, laugh at corny jokes and funny sketches, and join in sing-a-longs.

“The Old Bull and Bush in Hampstead, London, is probably one of the most celebrated public houses in the world and was a home for the popular British Music Hall, which was entertainment for the working classes. The genre began in the 1890s and was at its height for about 20 years,” said Flye, who ran her own Interact Theatre Company for 20 years. Currently, she is playing Grandma in “Billy Elliot” at Signature Theatre.

She continued: “Florrie Forde was a famous music hall star and her first big hit in 1904 was ‘Down at the Old Bull and Bush.’ It put Hampstead Heath and its picturesque pub firmly on the map and has been sung the world over. It was Florrie who first made famous ‘Pack up your Troubles’ and ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary,’ which became the marching songs for British young soldiers in France during World War I. The song and the story of Christmas in the Trenches has always been included in the Bull and Bush show, and this year it has a special significance as it is 100 years since the Armistice that brought to an end the horrors of World War I. Our production is dedicated to the men and women who have served, fought and paid the ultimate sacrifice for the good of the whole world.”

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