Hundreds of people today filled Bath’s Theatre Royal for Chris Harris’s Farewell Jollification. A celebration of the life of the amazing Chris Harris.
Chris, who was born in 1942 and who has performed in fifteen pantomimes at the Theatre Royal was remembered by those nearest and dearest to him.
The stage was decorated by many of the costumes that Chris has worn over the years, a slideshow gently stepped through images of his life and an audience dressed in rainbow colours filled the auditorium to say a fond fare-well to one of the best loved performers in the West Country.
The Rev Nev opened proceedings asking the audience to take to their feet and give Chris a standing ovation, which lasted for many minutes with rapturous applause and cheering. Truly a small indication of how many lives Chris had touched throughout his illustrious career.
As you can expect from the celebration of a character such as Chris there was audience participation, slapstick comedy and a few of his favourite panto routines performed by his friends and family including his wife, sons and many friends and colleagues such as Jon Monie, Clive Mantle, Jessica Punch and fellow staff from Bristol Old Vic.
With such a larger-then-life character it is no wonder we heard such hilarious and touching personal stories from Chris’s friends and family. Whether it was the story of him performing for royalty and being asked to sing Happy Birthday – which he did but changing the name to Betty Windsor and being told off by the Duke, or surprising his wife with his mimicking of the Blue Boob wearing nothing but his blue socks and flashing his derrière. There was laughter and tears in equal measure as we paid tribute to not only a great dame but an amazing human being as well.
Chris was much loved by all who had the pleasure of knowing him or seeing him perform and this ceremony was a brilliant opportunity to celebrate a man that gave so much to so many.
Fittingly the ceremony ended with the Beatles – All You Need Is Love, another standing ovation and endless rapturous applause to see Chris on his final journey.