REVIEW: Ray, Bob and Friends, The Customs House, South Shields

Ray Spencer and Bob Stott were reunited on stage at the Customs House.
Ray Spencer and Bob Stott were reunited on stage at the Customs House.

Most people in South Tyneside will tell you they’ve seen Ray Spencer and Bob Stott together in panto at some point over the last 40 years.

A sad day came for the borough theatre scene two years ago, when Bob, who delighted audiences as Dame Dotty, hung up his frock for the final time.

The dynamic duo were together no more as the lovable dame and her dopey son, Tommy.

But the pair were reunited on stage yesterday for a hilarious show all in aid of the Customs House Trust, which supports the arts in the local community.

A packed audience at the Customs House was welcomed back into the arms of the formidable comedy talents of Ray and Bob.

With jokes, songs, sketches and guest appearances, the show was an absolute delight.

Bob Stott as Dame Dotty and Ray Spencer as Tommy.

Bob Stott as Dame Dotty and Ray Spencer as Tommy.

It began with a spectacular performance from South Tyneside Dance Workshop, who appear in the panto each year, before two mysterious Dotty and Tommy-like performers appeared on the stage.

As the duo turned around, they were revealed to be Customs House panto regulars Stephen Sullivan and Craig Richardson, dressed up as Dotty and Tommy, respectively.

They proceeded to comically roast the veteran actors, raising plenty of chuckles from the eager crowd.

And when the men themselves appeared on the stage, the crowd erupted into deafening cheers and adoring applause – people were simply ecstatic to see the stalwarts back together again.

Ray Spencer and Bob Stott on stage during Bob's final panto performance at the Customs House, South Shields.

Ray Spencer and Bob Stott on stage during Bob's final panto performance at the Customs House, South Shields.

Ray and Bob have fantastic chemistry, which stems not only from their individual comedy talents, but also from the fact that they’ve been friends for four decades.

Their relationship is clearly a special one, and that shines through as they poke fun at each other, banter with the crowd and do what they do best – entertain people.

Between their dodgy ventriloquism act and a sketch which saw them dressed as complaining, and quite racy, old ladies, I laughed uncontrollably, and I wasn’t the only one.

The theatre was drenched in a constant barrage of hysterical laughter.

The show also included performances from Tony Wilson, Jen Stevens, Danny Reed and Luke Maddison, who each brought their own unique style of entertainment to the stage.

All in all, it was a fantastic night at the theatre that raised a fantastic £6,500 for the Trust.

It was the kind of event that makes you proud to be a South Tynesider.

Twitter: @VickiNewmanJP