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THE DONKEY THE WHIPPET AND THE GIANT LEEK

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A new musical celebrating the life of songwriter Eric Boswell
who found fame with his worldwide Christmas hit Little Donkey will tour the
North East in Spring 2024.

The Donkey, The Whippet and the Giant Leek will be performed by
his friends, international opera stars Graeme Danby and Valerie Reid. The show
features more than 20 of Boswell’s hits and compositions including ballads and
comic songs from his North East Songbook.

The production – written and devised by Tom Kelly and Graeme
Thompson – charts Boswell’s life and career from his early days in Sunderland
to his final years in Northumberland where he died in 2009 aged 88.

He enjoyed great commercial success in the 1950s and 60s writing
for stars including Matt Munro, Ricky Valance and Gracie Fields.

Fields took Little Donkey to the top of the charts in 1959 and
it was a hit for many other artists around the world as well as becoming a
fixture in school nativity plays and carol concerts.

But Boswell always believed his best work was to be found in his
songs about the changing face of the North East in the last quarter of the 20th
Century.

Songs including The Whippet, The Ghost of St Mary’s, Maybe This
is Love, The Summer of Last Year and The Great Longbenton Leek are featured in
the new show – a labour of love for singers Graeme Danby and Valerie Reid.

“We got to know Eric towards the end of his life when we were
recording his songs,” said Graeme, who is much in demand around the world for
his rich bass voice. “I’m from Consett so I loved the fact he was writing these
wonderful songs about life in this part of the country. He had a unique way of
capturing the dialect, character and landscape of the North East – and his
melodies are just gorgeous.”

Valerie added: “We were privileged that he wrote a song for our
wedding. Maybe This is Love is about a Scottish lass meeting and marrying a
Geordie lad – which is exactly our story. And we can’t wait to perform it along
with so many of Eric’s other songs.”

The Phoenix Theatre
37a Beaconsfield Street Blyth Northumberland NE24 2DS GB