Summertime Special Newsshopper Review – August 2007

Resident artists By Kerry Ann Eustice

BRINGING entertainment to those who can no longer seek it out for themselves is all in a day’s work for Simon Gross Presents. Formed by Beckenham-based performer Simon Gross – who you may remember from ITV’s Hell’s Kitchen, Channel 4’s What The Butler Saw and countless stage shows –Simon Gross Presents is a performance troupe, who take lively shows into the community.

Putting on variety shows in nursing homes and day centres is a big part of SG’s work, an idea which came to Simon when he was a carer.

The troupe’s most recent show was at Glebe Court, a nursing home on Glebe Way, West Wickham.

The resident’s excitement and anticipation was clear from the outset. A gentleman named Graham could barely wait for the music to strike up before he started dancing.

Tailored to evoke fond memories of the 40s, trips to the seaside and the wartime spirit, the shows are laced with humour, fabulously-bright costumes and hits from the musicals. It was moving to see the effect Summertime Special had on Glebe Court.

Residents beamed while singing along to uplifting numbers such as Cliff’s Summer Holiday, Annie’s signature tune Tomorrow and I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside.

Joanna Brick, the activities co- ordinator at the home, says even the residents who have lost their speech manage to sing along.

Although many of SG’s performers also take on stage work – Jean Warner, who shone at Glebe, has a West End job lined up for Christmas – it’s clear they find community gigs just as rewarding.

Simon said: “It can be very moving. It’s hard work but it’s worth it.”