Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Cracker of a night for Frank

Frank Carsons son Tony with his family Tara, Hanna, Frankee, Padraig and Tony's wife Edna
Frank Carsons son Tony with his family Tara, Hanna, Frankee, Padraig and Tony's wife Edna
Frank Carsons son Tony Carson, Franks wife Ruth and grandson Padraig
Frank Carsons son Tony Carson, Franks wife Ruth and grandson Padraig
Frank Carson: Comedian

"Mr Carson, the show must go on," boomed the offstage announcement at the start of last night's tribute show to the late comedy legend.

And just like the man himself, go on it did, with more than two dozen acts taking to the Grand Opera House stage to celebrate Frank Carson's life and career.

As host Gerry Kelly promised, it was a night of entertainment befitting the much-missed Belfast funnyman.

The organisers had assembled a 'cracker' bill, kicking off with the ever-popular Queen tribute Flash Harry and ending nearly three hours later with footage of a vintage Carson routine.

In between, a near-capacity crowd of Frank's fans, friends and family enjoyed comedy, song and reminiscences from a host of mainly Ulster-born stars.

Eighty-nine-year-old queen of showtunes Leila Webster sang Send in the Clowns, cueing William Caulfield, Jimmy Cricket, Adrian Walsh, Tom O'Connor and Gene Fitzpatrick to troop on with old-school humour.

O'Connor proved he has lost none of the wit that made him a household name in the 1980s. Sporting icons Willie John McBride, Pat Jennings, Dennis Taylor and Dame Mary Peters told wry anecdotes of their meetings – or rather, run-ins – with Carson, while singer Rose Marie offered sincere words of tribute to her 'mentor'.

The most touching testimony came from the Ulster acting legend James Ellis, who gave Carson his first job in showbusiness and had remained friends with him across six decades. Music-wise, the show served up some surprises. Adrian Dunbar duetting with Brian Kennedy was unusual enough, but only at a Frank Carson memorial show might you find Barry McGuigan belting out Sweet Home Alabama. Eurovision winner Niamh Kavanagh sang well on a cover of Mustang Sally. The procession of stars seemed to be never-ending, with mind reader David Meade, X Factor winner Joe McElderry and Baroness May Blood.

Baroness Blood spoke passionately of Carson's support of the Integrated Education Fund, which – with CLIC Sargent's Homes from Home Appeal – was the beneficiary of this brilliantly entertaining bash.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife Galleries

More

Latest Entertainment News

Latest Music News

Latest Film & TV News

Latest Eating Out News

Horoscopes

Your Horoscopes by Russell Grant

Virgo:

You're extremely attractive. Take this opportunity to ask for some favours. It will be difficult to resist your charms. Taking some courses can improve your professional prospects. Don't be afraid to pursue a career in the arts. Friends may tell you it's impossible to make a living in the creative field, but they underestimate your ability. Your combination of imagination and pragmatism will help you make a good living. Anything that involves working with your hands is sure to appeal to you.More