Sid and Valerie

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Old time vaudevillian, tap dancer and acrobat, Sid Lester helped make Variety great and now he wants one last shot.  The death of his wife and long-time dance partner has forced Sid to reconcile with his resentful but aspirational daughter Valerie to create a new double act.  Sid wants to be back where he belongs: top of the bill, name in lights, conductor and constructor of his own universe, and will do whatever it takes.

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Sid and Valerie conjure an evening of entertainment that draws on the performance traditions of 'Summertime Specials' and 'The Good Old Days' with a script that provides "a skewed and disturbing sideways glance at mid-20th-century British life, and its ever-cheerful showbiz culture"  (Joyce MacMillan The Scotsman). This in addition to proffered toffees, talking birds, trilling vocals, balloons, impersonations, nifty footwork, acrobatics, old school patter, a shuffle-step-hop, interactive games and recognizable family dynamics.

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The Sid Lester Christmas Special has become a fixture in the seasonal calendar.  The evening is curated with invitations extended to contemporary performers to do a turn and perform an act based on a either a long-forgotten or newly learnt skill...  

These performances are seamlessly entwined with a script that meditates on grief and familial relations.  The performance reaches a crescendo of audience participation (and joy) with a brass-band-accompanied sing-along of Christmas songs and carols.


Conceptualised by Sue MacLaine and co-created with Emma Kilbey.  Films by Joe Murray.

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Sue MacLaineSid and Valerie