Magic of the Stars

Magic of the Stars keeps audiences spellbound

Reviewer Caroline Abbott – HERALD EXPRESS

The variety shows at Babbacombe Theatre always prove popular and the latest offering, Magic of the Stars, is set to follow in the same vein. There is something for everyone with music, comedy, dancing, illusions and impressions jam-packed into the two-hour show.

On the way out, everyone was chattering excitedly about a different aspect of the production – the person in front of me was praising the beautiful choreography and costumes while the person behind me was telling her friend which joke had made her cry with laughter.

I thought that the success of primetime television programmes such as Britain's Got Talent would have widened the interest in variety performances, but the vast majority of the audience were senior citizens. The show is clearly targeted at this age group, with jokes about hip replacements and tablets, and plenty of songs and references from yesteryear.

But producer and director Colin Matthews, who has now been at the venue for more than 30 years, has included a couple of songs from the present day to the set, in a bid to appeal to younger generations. The Adele and Justin Timberlake covers were received by the audience politely if not quite as enthusiastically as some of the others.

Host and headlining showman Steve Laister had the audience in stitches with his reflections, observations and foreign characters such as the vertically challenged matador. He showed his versatility with strong vocals too.

The gorgeous and talented Lindsey Collard, who has appeared at Babbacombe Theatre in many previous productions, shone while former Emmerdale actress Gail-Marie also impressed with songs that showed off her vocal range.

Daniel Dean delighted the audience with his illusions although he seemed a little less comfortable adding his support to the musical numbers. Wayne 'Champagne' Martin, another Babbacombe Theatre veteran, helped to make the show extra bubbly.

The flawless Danze Magique enhanced every number and the Rock Starz youngsters gave mature and confident performances.

Every member of the cast pulled out all the stops to keep the audience entertained and their enjoyment was infectious. Magic of the Stars was, in short, spellbinding.


“A Triumph” *****

One comes to expect the seasonal show at the Babbacombe Theatre cannot possibly be as good, let alone better than the last one. How wrong was I? This new show for mid-week audiences really does exude variety at its best and from beginning to end it just kept on giving. With a kaleidoscope of colour on set, wonderful orchestrations with slick and sassy choreography, a dynamic cast, all working in harmony, Magic of the Stars is by far my favourite to date!

Headlining act, Steve Laister - what a showman. Within minutes of him coming on to do his first spot, he had the audience in the palm of his hand. At one point, he had a full house literally swaying backwards, forwards and sideways with their arms in the air and what’s more he kept us all in complete unison. With the numerous characters, he portrays throughout the show, along with his original material it does make you wonder why we have not seen Steve Laister on our television screens.

After laughing out loud with Steve’s antics, it is with a degree of relief to have some respite with the wonderful musical numbers interspersed throughout this show, my ribs needed a break!

There were many highlights, but one that stood out for me, was when the Rock Starz, 6 youngsters, were performing Matchstalk Men. A poignant scene, wonderfully executed by the junior cast, the dancers and Steve. Not only were the children able to demonstrate great emotion in this skit, they then went on to rock the stage, quite literally, with an excerpt from Sir Andrew Lloyd Webbers latest West End hit show, The School of Rock with an infectious enthusiasm. Wayne ‘Champagne’ Martin had the role associated with Jack Black from the movie and he to proved, just how versatile a performer he is. His Benny Hill sketch deserves a special mention, it was like I was whisked back to the 1970’s as his portrayal of this iconic comedian was so realistic- is there any call these days for a Benny Hill tribute act?

No show is complete without a leading lady, Magic of the Stars goes one further as you have two! Both with voices that not only complement one another, but individually leave you in awe of their vocal prowess. Lindsey Collard, a favourite amongst Babbacombe audiences sings Shania Twain, Karen Carpenter and Caro Emerald and all seem to sound very like the original, whilst Lindsey is clearly not a mimic, she is adept at her craft. Gail- Marie, having returned to the Bay after a career spanning 30 years, most of which, was in London’s West End, radiates sincerity with every note she sings. Whether singing her solo, With One Look, duetting with Wayne or partaking in the ensemble numbers, her professionalism and stagecraft are evident for all to see.

International illusionist, Daniel Dean brings panache and mystery to the stage. He not only conjures up gasps of delight during the production numbers but as you marvel at his two stunning illusions, which are performed with flair and finesse, with Danze Magique ably assisting, you must wonder is it an illusion or is it really MAGIC!!

As I said previously, there are many highlights to this show and Colin Matthews, the shows Director & Producer, must have a sixth sense about what his audiences want to see and hear. As the cast sang Vaults of Heaven, the onlookers, that includes me, are mesmorised! Congratulations Mr Matthews on this triumph.

I know that everyone will have their own highlight, but clearly with so many wonderful magical, comedic and musical moments, in this show, one must take a moment to give full credit to the dancers, Danze Magique who are on stage for much of this show, heaven knows how many quick changes they got through but their enthusiasm and ability knows no bounds. Girls, I salute you!



This year’s mid-week variety showcase at Babbacombe Theatre hit the ground running with a dazzling two-hour long show packed with comedy, music, dance and magic. Local comic talent Steve Laister gave a great performance as host and had the audience in stitches with great comic observation and a variety of characters of which his lofty matador was a firm favourite!

The Babbacombe crew do a spectacular job keeping the pace up with great musical numbers highlighted by beautifully choreographed routines from Danze Magique. Lindsey Collard and West End songstress Gail-Marie shared the vocal highlights with more comedy from the ever-popular Wayne ‘Champagne’ Martin and illusionist Daniel Dean pulling off some Vegas-style stunts.

There really wasn’t a moment wasted and with Adele and Justin Timberlake covers and a number from School of Rock there’s plenty to keep the younger members interested too. 

What a great value show, Viva variety!

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