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The Crack Magazine

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Donkey! Whippet! Leek!

A very special musical – celebrating the life of local hero Eric Boswell who found fame with his worldwide Christmas hit ‘Little Donkey’ – is touring the north-east this spring. Get ready for ‘The Donkey, The Whippet and The Giant Leek’. 

I always assumed the Christmas carol ‘Little Donkey’ was written way back in the mists of time – Victorian era at least. Not so. It was actually penned by Eric Boswell in 1959 and it went on to become a real classic. Sunderland-born Boswell enjoyed great commercial success in the 1950s and 60s, and wrote for stars including Matt Munro, Ricky Valance and Gracie Fields. But he 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. ‘The Donkey, The Whippet and The Giant Leek’ features more than 20 of Boswell’s hits and compositions including ballads and comic songs from his north-east songbook including ‘The Whippet’, ‘The Ghost of St Mary’s’, ‘Maybe This Is Love’, ‘The Summer of Last Year’, and ‘The Great Longbenton Leek’. Written and devised by Tom Kelly and Graeme Thompson, the show 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. Starring Graeme Danby and Valerie Reid, file this one under a truly rip-roaring night out.

The Donkey, The Whippet and The Giant Leek:

Saturday 6 April, The Phoenix Theatre, Blyth, 7.30pm, £17.50,

Thursday 11 April, The Fire Station, Sunderland, 7.30pm, from £25,

Tuesday 23 April, Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, 7.30pm, from £16,

Friday 26 April, Bishop Auckland Town Hall, 7.30pm, £15, 

Saturday 27 April, Alnwick Playhouse, 4pm & 7.30pm, £18,

Sunday 12 May, The Customs House, South Shields, 6pm, from £16,