Adorable Dora ‘Tarts and barmaids. I just took whatever came along!’

For so many Brighton and Hove residents the name Dora need not be followed by the name Bryan. So many of us saw her around town, shopping in Kemp Town Village or emerging from her seafront home to walk her dogs. Dora Bryan was as much a part of the city as she was a part of British entertainment. Over eight decades she did it all, from pantomime and Carry On to Shakespeare, from Last of the Summer Wine and Ab Fab to Dinner Ladies, and perhaps most importantly her iconic and BAFTA Award winning performance in the film A Taste Of Honey. She earned the title national treasure in so so many ways.

Now that legend is being brought to the stage by west end star Rosemary Ashe, a performer with an enviable CV that has seen her in so many huge shows across her career. Rosie has appeared in many West End productions including: Carlotta, the Prima Donna in the original cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘The Phantom of The Opera’, Madame Thenardier in ‘Les Miserables’, Cunegonde in ‘Candide’, Widow Corney in ‘Oliver!’, Hortense in ‘The Boyfriend’, Forbidden Broadway, Felicia Gabriel in ‘The Witches of Eastwick’ (for which she was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical), Miss Andrew, the nasty nanny in ‘Mary Poppins’, Lottie Grady in ‘When We Are Married’  & Grandma Mole in ‘The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 & ¾’ and her own tribute to Broadway and Hollywood star Ethel Merman.

Rosie has always been a huge fan of Dora Bryan and during a clear out during lockdown last year came across an old cassette of hers which gave her the inspiration to write the show. She spent a lot of time doing research into her long career and talked to many actors and directors who knew and worked with her, to get a real flavour of this versatile actress who was based in Brighton for so many years. The result is Adorable Dora, a show that tells of her often turbulent life and recreates some of Dora’s best known and best loved theatrical creations.

Biggins, himself an iconic figure in British theatre history, saw the show and immediately had this to say; “Last night I went to the Jermyn St Theatre off Piccadilly to see Adorable Dora, a show about Dora Bryan, who was not just someone I worked in pantomime with, but also a very close friend of mine. Rosemary Ashe has resurrected her in the most extraordinary way so that Dora has not left us at all, but is alive and well and living off Piccadilly which is pertinent as she played so many ladies of the night! Not only does Rosie look and sound like her, she manages to convey the very essence, fun, eccentricity and flamboyance of this wonderful, wonderful actress. I urge everyone to beg, steal or borrow a ticket.”

Well now we can actually get to see this extraordinary tribute to one of the comedy greats, here in Brighton at The Warren as part of Brighton Fringe 2021, and I suspect that once the word gets out that tribute is being paid to a real local hero that Biggins will be right and it might be a case of begging, borrowing or stealing to see this exciting new show.

For more information you can visit her website:

Adorable Dora

The Warren Oil Shed Victoria Gardens Brighton

Thursday 8 July 4.45pm

Saturday 10 July 1.10pm

For tickets call the box office on 01273  987516

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