Allan Stewart’s Big Big Variety Show is back

Allan Stewart
Allan Stewart
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ALLAN Stewart isn’t just for Christmas, The King’s long-standing panto dame returns to the Leven Street theatre next week with his annual Big Big Variety Show.

And the funnyman promises that once again he aims to bring only the biggest laughs and the best in entertainment to town.

The enduring appeal of variety is captured in a line-up that includes the digitally enhanced magic of Britain’s Got Talent finalist Mandy Muden, the hilarious musical comedy of Kev Orkian, the big, big sound of Scotland’s top rock choir Soul Nation Choir and more tales from behind the mic from BBC broadcaster and panto villain, Grant Stott.

Talking about the line-up for this year’s show Stewart says, “I wanted to find the best possible acts that would give it, right across the board, that variety feel.”

The man himself completes the line-up, compering the evening and performing some show-stopping show-tunes with the full Andy Pickering Orchestra.

Born in Glasgow in 1950, Stewart is a veteran of the Scottish stage with a instinctive understanding of old-school music hall entertainment.

Destined for a life in showbiz from the day Santa brought him a drum-kit (in instalments), Stewart as a guitar-playing pop singer was touring clubs and winning competitions at the Barrowlands by the age of 10 - he was even booked to support The Rolling Stones at one early church hall gig.

When the working men’s clubs died, he took to variety, introduced impersonations to his act and a successful career in television beckoned.

In the Seventies he got his big break with the STV series The Allan Stewart Tapes, in 1979 - it was picked up by ITV network the following year.

The Allan Stewart Show followed as did the 1984 series Go For It in which he appeared alongside other impressionists, including Les Dennis and Bobby Davro.

He teamed up with Davro again in 1985 for the ITV series Copy Cats. Four year’s later he was the host of the gameshow Chain Letters.

An unapologetic perfectionist, however, Stewart has spent a large part of his long career on the King’s stage, both in variety and as the theatre’s beloved panto Dame, Aunty May.

His first variety shows at the King’s began in 1974 to a rapturous response that returned when variety, backed by the success of TV talent shows, came back into fashion in the twenty first century.

Allan Stewart’s Big Big Variety Show, King’s Theatre, Leven Street, Tuesday 26 February-Saturday 2 March, 7.30pm (2.30pm), £28.50, 0131-529 6000