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Forty years ago Appleby Public Hall was a venue for professional wrestling. But tastes were changing and attendance fell. In 1974 a bill featuring Jackie Pallo and the Masked Outlaw brought down the curtain for Appleby wrestling fans.
But on Sunday 23 October at 7.30 pm, wrestling will return to Appleby Public Hall in an acclaimed two-handed play on the lives and times of Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks, known in real life as Shirley Crabtree and Martin Ruane, who featured regularly on ITV’s hugely popular Saturday afternoon wrestling slot in the 1970s and 1980s.
The show, featuring Ross Gurney-Randall and David Mountfield, has toured with great success during 2011, entertaining family audiences all over Britain. It’s about far more than the wrestling world, conjuring up memories of the whole nation in the eventful 1980s. The critic of Fringe Guru describes it as, ‘a stormer of a show’.
The show is part of the Highlights programme, and has been sponsored by Appleby Jubilee Players, treasurer Keith Morgan, secretary Alice Palmer.
Andy Connell, president of the Players, said: ‘This show will bring back special memories for me, and I’m delighted we’re supporting it. Shirley Crabtree lived in Halifax, next to a fish and chip shop I passed on my way to school, and I often saw him. He and his brother Max, also a wrestler, used to hire the town pool the hour before we had our swimming lesson and as we came in we’d see them surging through the water like a pair of whales’.
The show will also be performed at Alston Town Hall on October 19.