NEWS: AN EVENING WITH RAY BROOKS : AS IF BY MAGIC – The Genius of Mr Benn!
Anyone in the UK over the age of 25 would get a flash of nostalgia when they hear Ray Brooks speak. Brooks has rarely been out of work since starting his acting career in 1959. The broadcast of the bleak and hard hitting Ken Loach Wednesday Night Play 'Cathy Come Home' in 1966, showcased Brooks as an actor of substance in the role of Reg Ward in the bleak tale of young girl, Cathy who loses her home, husband and eventually her child through the inflexibility of the British welfare system. Those of us who watched it, would find it hard to forget! Just months before families had been enjoying his appearance with Peter Cushing as David in 'Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 ad' at the local flicks!
But, it’s for voicing a short series of 13 animated shows for children that he holds a special place in the hearts and minds of most – and the inhabitant of 52 Festive Road is the focus of his new one-man show. A creation of illustrator David McKee, Mr Benn was about an ordinary man in a suit and bowler hat who embarked on extraordinary adventures every time he visited a fancy dress shop. His adventure always ended when, as if by magic, the shopkeeper appeared to bring him back to reality.
The full impact of Mr Benn – and idea for the one-man show – really hit Brooks two years ago when he was at an event marking the 100th anniversary of PETER CUSHING'S BIRTH. “We did the Dr Who film Daleks – Invasion Earth 2150 AD together,” says Brooks. “I was on stage talking about the film and Peter, and the interviewer brought up Mr Benn. When I said the phrase: ‘As if by magic, the shopkeeper appeared’ the audience leapt to their feet. I thought it was quite extraordinary."
Video Clip: Peter Cushing would have been 100 on 26 May 2013. To celebrate this, Ray Brooks slices a special cake on behalf of Cushing at the Dr Who @ the Movies event at Riverside Studios.
Ray's show An Evening With Ray Brooks: As If By Magic – The Genius of Mr Benn opened last night as a one off at The Brighton Little Theatre, Clarence Gardens, Brighton. We'll keep you posted of any further dates. Below here's a link to Ray's blog. Message him, he's a lovely chap and would be glad to hear from you.