BENSON'S BAND SHOW TOPS AGAIN AT MALTA (from Times of Malta - Friday June 25, 1954).


(Poor quality press cutting photo)

Ivy Benson and her Band Show, taken last night at the Manoel Island R.N. Theatre, shortly before Ivy and the girls left Malta for U.K., where they will open their new tour at Torquay on June 26.
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"This has been just about the most crowded tour we've done, but it's been worth every minute of it", said Ivy Benson before she left on the midnight plane last night for England. The troops at Malta can echo the part about the visit being worth it, with a hearty cheer.

Ivy and her 17-girl Band Show have just concluded a lightning three -night tour of some of the Garrison's theatres. Although some of the old personnel have left, mainly due to their getting married, the tip top standard of the Benson Band remains.

Time Flies
It certainly doesn't seem a year ago that we saw Ivy Benson and her Girls onstage at the Australia Hall, with Ivy wearing a new dress for practically every number. She didn't change during this tour, but she put the same expressive shoulder-work and emotion into her solo spot as she did last time.

Penny Maxwell, an 18 year old from Cheshire, was the vocalist for this tour, and she proved highly popular with the troops. One of her songs "When you hear Big Ben", was sung specially for Corporal J. S. Parker, R.M. of Cambridge. Judging from the applause, some of the other lads appreciated it too.

Ella Godwin, an Eddie Calvert in skirts - he played at Australia Hall some years ago too - got the best out of her trumpet and delighted the house with Kenny Baker's "Trumpet Fantasy", although her "Carnival of Venice" could have braked a little to get all the notes into position. Even Harry James took it easy.

Going Up
But Ella is certainly on the way up, with no doubts at all that she has a brilliant future ahead. One wished somehow that she would have chimed in more during Penny's "Oh, Mein Papa". But then, Ivy said after the show, "It is a bit like pinching his stuff", - he being the Calvert.

Band numbers which evoked roaring appreciation were brought out in such numbers as "Dragnet", "The Creep", and "The Sabre Dance" which echoed around Australia Hall last year during Ivy's last visit, if memory serves correctly.

Comedienne Terry Day, relying mainly on mime, was appreciated fully, especially during her screamingly funny rendering of a flapper doing the Charleston, echoing the Roaring Twenties.

Gloria Russell impersonated very well indeed, the "Records" number being one of her highspots. She combined with Terry, Penny and the girls in a quite a few mirth - provoking numbers which delighted the house and gave the band a rest.

Dorothy England, a Trombonist who can make the notes sleep, pleased with the Glenn Miller theme from his life's film.

Finale
Ivy's two creamy numbers were "Harlem Nocturne" and "Ebb Tide". After the entrancing sweetness of her solos, it was quite a handclapping shock to hear Paula Pyke, Ivy's drummer of last tour and an expert in her work, give the kit a beating in "Skin Deep". Paula never once slackened over her bouncing drums, and the beat was as steady at the end as it was when the solo started.

Winifred Keary pleased everyone - including the Band onstage - with "Five Finger Boogie", and the house was genuinely sorry when Ivy announced the last band number, "Night Train". Night plane would have been appropriate, as the show left on the last night's midnight plane.

Nice to have seen you, Ivy. Come again when you can and give the troops another bubbling brew of the Benson Band. Everyone agreed that it was well worth the tickets to sit and hear one hour 40 minutes of Ivy and her girls. Bands like hers are few and far between on the C.S.E. Middle East and Malta circuits.

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