Traditional summer season fun is once again the promise at Bognor’s Regis Centre this August. Live At The Regis will run from Thursday to Sunday, August 9-12 (Thursday and Friday 7.30pm, Saturday 2.30pm and 7.30pm and Sunday 2.30pm), starring Joe Pasquale and Hilary O’Neil.
It is something Hazel Latus, chairman of Arun Arts and the venue’s executive producer and operations director, is keen to develop.
“We have put ourselves on the map as a professionally-run venue, and I grew up with summer seasons all over the place. I thought ‘Why can’t we have our own summer season?’ I spoke to someone who said that there were four theatres in Bognor years ago and that the theatre we are in now was part of a much bigger venue. Bognor used to have people Max Bygraves in his heyday coming here. It is all things that have had been done in some way in the past, so we just thought ‘Let’s give it a go!’, the idea of getting a summer season going again in Bognor. We started very small in 2016. We thought it would be good to have a live band, and if you put variety acts and individual pieces together, then you have got a show. We wanted some local dancers, and in the first year, it went very well. It didn’t sell as much as we hoped, but then a lot of local people are on holiday in August. So the following year, last year, we tried to do it in a slightly-different style. I thought if we had someone better known, it would encourage people to come in from outside the area, and we had Bobby Crush come along. He was very good. He was really up for seeing if we could make it work, and we did a bit better than we had done before.”
This year, the big star will be comedian Joe Pasquale, plus dancers from ADF and singers The Bersted Boys.
“And Hilary O’Neil is back again. This will be her second year. She was fantastic last time. She has got a lovely warmth about her, a fantastic warmth. She is also very glamorous and very funny. She is a great all-rounder. She has got a great voice and is a nice mover. And with Joe, I wanted to have somebody that has got a bit of profile, but also warmth that people will relate to.”
Joe has been doing his stand-up tours for 20 years. After being crowned King of the Jungle in 2004 on ITV’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, he has remained one of the hardest-working and top-selling live comedians in British comedy today, Hazel says, It all adds up to Live at the Regis, one of the few true variety shows in Britain which will showcase live acts at their best, bringing back traditional seaside variety. Hazel is promising laugh-out loud comedy, spell-binding performances, ventriloquism and spine-tingling vocals, with a company of dancers.”