Sue Kelvin will bring Bette Midler and Me to The Garden Theatre at The Eagle from Tuesday 3 November, the show explores how Bette Midler inspired Sue to don seven-inch platform shoes, and become a musical diva herself!

All of Bette’s biggest hits are in the show, including ‘From a Distance’ ‘The Rose’, ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’,  ‘I’m A Woman’, ‘Chapel of Love’, ‘The Glory of Love’, ‘I Think it’s Gonna Rain Today’, ‘Everything’s Coming Up Roses’ and ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’.

The show also features highlights from famous Midler comedy routines, and an outrageous three-minute puppet version of her cult-hit tear-jerker movie, ‘Beaches’. Tickets are on sale here.

You’re bringing Bette Midler and Me to The Garden Theatre, what can you tell us about it?

It’s a 90-minute whistle-stop tour through Bette’s life and career – with great songs, comedy routines, and plenty of insights into life, love and the art of wearing 7-inch platform shoes.  Oh, and it also features a puppet show version of ‘Beaches’.

What is it about the Divine Miss M that inspired you to create this show?

Bette is a camp, larky, glorious diva.   And she’s had far less plastic surgery than Cher.   The perfect role model.

Bette Midler is such an icon, is it daunting building a show around someone who is so universally loved?

It would be daunting if I attempted to impersonate her.  But my show is not a tribute show.   I’m not keen on tribute shows; they belong in Madame Tussaud’s.  My show is about how I adore Bette and how she influenced a whole generation of women.

It’s not only Bette Midler’s songs that feature in the show, what else can we expect and how did you go about curating the show?

We feature a mega-mix of music and comedy as well as revealing lots of tit-bits about Bette’s personal life – for instance how she (as a Jewish woman) coped with marrying a German: “Every night I dress up as Poland and he invades me.”

How does it feel to be getting back on to the stage following such a tough year for the industry?

“I’m ready for my close up, Mr DeMille”.  It’s frankly time to dare to put on live shows wherever and however we can .  Big West End shows can’t return for ages – no tourists.   But those of us with quirky, small scale entertainments can ‘pop-up’ in such venues as the miraculous Garden Theatre, Vauxhall.

What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see Bette Midler and Me?

I’d say what Bette says; “When I’m on stage, it’s a party.  Come and join in”.   And at the Garden Theatre, Vauxhall you can come with your friends  (in bubbles up to six), and not just with your ‘household’ bubble.  That’s because it’s OUTDOORS – but with canopies and heaters!!   How unique is that?

See Sue Kelvin in Bette Midler and Me, which opens at The Garden Theatre at The Eagle (now with outdoor heating), 349 Kennington Lane London SE11 5QY (nearest tube/train: Vauxhall) from Tuesday 3 November

Greg is an award-winning writer with a huge passion for theatre. He has appeared on stage, as well as having directed several plays in his native Scotland. Greg is the founder and editor of Theatre Weekly


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