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Ian McKellar teams up with Hale & Pace (1996)

November 30, 2012

90's Flashback

On the road with Aussie funny man Ian McKellar

Variety Today 1996

By Ian McKellar

WELL, I am just back from my third tour around the country as opening act for HALE and PACE – and what a great tour it was! A lot of shows, a lot of laughts, probably a few too many beers but most importantly, a lot of happy punters.

It seems that Hale and Pace’s popularity is increasing more and more out here in Oz, but I guess that’s no surprise when you’re coming around to filming your 8th successful television comedy series.

Apart from a couple of 80 per cent houses early on the tour the boys sold out in every venue in every city visited. The biggest rooms we played were the Palais Theatre in Melbourne with 2800 and Burswood Casino Showroom for two nights at 2000 people each night, and judging from the audience response Gareth and Norman won’t need to wait another two years for their next Australian Tour.

After one appearance on Hey Hey It’s Saturday over 6000 inquiries were made for tickets in Melbourne for an already `sold out show!

The show this year was a combination of favourite routines with some new and topical pieces, adding plenty of variation for returning fans, including a new song parody with Princess Di as the subject, and one referring to French Nuclear Tests in the Pacific, and of course there were return appearances of Jed and Dave the `demi-gods of rock’n’roll when an inspector Calls, and Billy and Johnny, which were all greeted by audiences with deafening cheers and applause. One definite highlight was a new number written specifically for the Australian Tour. This show-stopping closing number had the distinct feed of an anthem. an anthem for two Poms who have found so much to enjoy in a country in which they are obviously very at home and most welcome.

In fact, Gareth mentioned to me that one reason they wanted to shoot a live concert out here was so they could show their fans back homne how ell received they are Downunder. Native Sydney lad Scott Donaldson once again provided superb musical accompaniment and interludes which did more than just back up Hale and Pace in entertaining the huge audiences right across the country.

Gareth and Norman did, however, have another reason for coming to Australia. For two nights at the York Theatre in Sydney, a full production team from London Weekend Television taped the two hour show live. So keep your eyes peeled for `Hale and Pace Live in Australia’, which should be going to air on Channel Nine later in the year. Apparently the special will be a combination of the live concert and sketches shot around Sydney.

Don’t panic if you miss it though as the word going around on the tour was that the live footage was so good that an international release on video is on the cards as well! So all in all we played to nearly 20,000 fans in only 13 show.

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