Shall we, shan’t we? This lovable Irish duo was playing in Palmerston North and we really loved their music so why were we dithering, we wondered. Our friends D & D already had tickets so we decided buy our tickets on-line and join them for a good night out. The concert started at the early time of 7.00pm so we had an early pre-theatre meal at China Town. But we were beaten in the doors by two buses packed full of oldies who had the same idea – and wouldn’t you know it, they were all going to the concert too. As we enjoyed our buffet meal, we were reminiscing about some of the old TV shows we had enjoyed over the years, especially those well loved English comedies. We were trying so hard to come up with the name of a particular show, but our brain cells were on strike. “You know”, we said around our table, “the Irishman who sits on a stool,” and as I reminded Robin, “we’ve seen him live on stage too”. Then a voice from a neighbouring table spoke up – Dave Allen. As I thanked them, I noticed that this couple was the same vintage as us, they must have been having a chuckle as we were going on about our favourite TV shows from years ago!
Then it was off to the wonderful old Regent on Broadway theatre. Designed in 1929 by Charles Hollingshed of Melbourne, the Regent Theatre opened its doors on 4 July, 1930. A newspaper report at the time described the theatre as having been built, decorated and furnished regardless of cost and called it "The Theatre Beautiful".
But after the decline of movie going a sadly dilapidated and poorly utilised Regent closed its doors in 1991. Purchased by the Palmerston North City Council in October 1993, the building was restored to its former grandeur and modernised it technically to ensure its place as New Zealand's leading provincial theatre. With the re-opening as the Regent on Broadway on 1 May 1998 it has come back to life again, fully modernised and better than ever.
We found our respective seats watched as fellow ticket holders found their seats. It was rather like “50 shades of grey” as we looked around, most were older people, with just a sprinkling of youngsters. The pair of Irish troubadours walked onto the stage to a rapturous welcome. We were invited to join in as the show progressed, clap our hands and tap our feet – at their age, we were told, they needed all the help they could get! So we did – we sang along and joined in where required, singing about a little fly in the grocer’s shop, the seven old ladies locked in the lavatory, and joining in the chorus to “All god’s creatures got a place in the Choir”.
While some of the songs were performed, a slide show of the wonderful Irish countryside was shown as a backdrop. The beautiful Cliffs of Moher and the famous rope bridge at Carrick-a rede were two attractions that we remembered from our own trip to Ireland. Each member of the backing band was introduced, and they gave us a short performance of their individual talents.
Foster and Allen kept us entertained the whole evening, from rollicking Irish jigs, to the fun filled audience participation tunes, and the soft and beautiful love songs. I particularly loved their rendition of the hauntingly beautiful song “Spinning”, and their famous song “Maggie” brought the house down. The whole evening felt like we were wrapped in the warm friendly arms of of an Irish hug. It was a magical evening.
This legendary Irish folk music duo began in 1975 when Mick Foster & Tony Allen formed their duo Foster & Allen. For three years they toured cabaret venues in Ireland and the UK. Their big break-through came in 1978 when they released the single A Bunch of Thyme in Ireland which stayed in the Irish Charts for an unbelievable 53 weeks.
The duo are number one stars across the globe, scoring 30 new-release charting albums over a 30-year career, the only act in the world to do so. We loved their Irish wit, and their lovely lilting Irish voices as they sang their beautiful love songs.