Three Tabard shows win awards in the London Pub Theatre Awards

Images above: Next Door’s Baby; Kim Ismay in About Bill; Mark Farrelly in The Silence of Snow

Keith Strachan wins Best Director and Mark Farrelly wins Best Solo Show (Written By The Performer)

Three shows produced at the Tabard have won awards at the London Pub Theatres Awards.

Keith Strachan won Best Director, for Theatre at the Tabard’s productions of Next Door’s Baby and About Bill. Mark Farrelly won Best Solo Show (Written By The Performer), for The Silence of Snow, about the tragic life of Chiswick based novelist Patrick Hamilton.

Images above: Matthew Strachan; Matthew and wife Bernadette Gaughn; Keith Strachan

“I wish Matthew was here to see this” – Keith Strachan

Keith Strachan told The Chiswick Calendar he was delighted to have won.

“I have been working in the theatre for years and years and years and years and never won anything, but mostly I am pleased for my son Matthew and I wish he was here to see this.”

Matthew and his wife Bernadette wrote Next Door’s Baby – she the script and he the music. Matthew also wrote the music for About Bill and cowrote the theme to Who Wants to be a Millionaire, with his father. That and the Christmas pop hit Mistletoe and Wine are the compositions for which Keith, now 80, is most famous.

“I was listening to the news about Matthew Perry and his demons. My Matthew took his own life two years ago. His demon was vodka and he couldn’t take it any more.

“I wanted to try and regenerate some interest in those two pieces. I came out of retirement to do them and I hope this means there will be more life in them both.

Image above: Kim Ismay in About Bill

About Bill will continue to be performed

“About Bill was designed as a vehicle for Kim Ismay, West End actress and singer currently performing in Elf and the Dominion. It’s something she can do in between shows at cabaret venues when she has a few days together.”

He is not so sure whether Next Door’s Baby will continue to have a life in theatre, though it deserves to. Both were vey well received by Chiswick audiences.

READ ALSO: Next Door’s Baby – Theatre at the Tabard review

READ ALSO: About Bill review – Theatre at the Tabard

 Images above: Mark Farrelly as Quentin Chrisp and as Patrick Hamilton

If at first you don’t succeed …

Mark Farrelly also told The Chiswick Calendar he was very pleased to have won, but was quite surprised to have won, as he has been performing The Silence of Snow for nearly ten years now. He has four shows which he has written and performs as one man shows, about Frankie Howerd, Quentin Chrisp, Derek Jarman and Patrick Hamilton, which he takes on tour around small theatres.

“It just goes to show that if you believe in something, if you keep revisiting it, retuning and enjoying it, it does continue to have life.

“The standard model is that you do something for a few weeks and if it doesn’t take off immediately then it’s never seen again.”

READ ALSO: Two one-man plays by Mark Farrelly – Theatre at the Tabard

“Theatre at the Tabard exude quality at every level. I love working there” – Mark Farrelly

Accepting the award at Upstairs at the Gatehouse on Sunday 22 October, he picked up on a remark made by someone else during the evening that pub theatres were ‘stepping stones’ to reaching bigger audiences.

“These venues [pub theatres] are fantastic places in their own right”.

He prefers to perform his one man shows to an intimate audience, he told The Chiswick Calendar. Although he has acted in the West End (Young Vic, Trafalgar Studios), his usual venues for his one-man shows are many of the pub theatres that were nominated for awards: the Brockley Jack, which won the Pub Theatre of the Year 2023 award, the King’s Head and the Tabard:

Although there are no current plans for him to return to the Tabard there is every likelihood he will be back, as Simon and Sarah Reilly, who run it, are as complimentary about his shows as he is of their management.

“Theatre at the Tabard is so well run. The programming is amazing. It’s all of such a high standard. Sandra, who did the technicals for my show, is a pocket genius, and they exude quality at every level. I love working there.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar