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A Searcher in Knaresborough

In 1963, the Elephant & Castle, a dilapidated Knaresborough high street building was bought by a local businessman Frederick Frazer. Offering it to the town at a peppercorn rent, the only attraction was from a company called The Knaresborough Players, founded in 1962. They hired the hall and put on Robinson Crusoe in February 1964, which became the first of many. The building was eventually renamed, The Frazer Theatre, in honour of their benefactor in 1968, before finally being transformed into a fully equipped working theatre in 1981, with an extension in 2009.

On Saturday 25th May, the Frazer played host to singer, Spencer James. For those who are not sure about Spencer's pedigree, he has been the lead vocalist and guitarist with the sixties legends, The Searchers, for over 33 years, to huge success, performing in almost every prestigious gig in the world including Wembley Stadium (with Sir Cliff Richard), National Indoor Arena (millennium New Year with Sir Cliff), London Palladium, Royal Albert Hall, Madison Square Gardens: including tours of Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, U.S.A. Canada, The Falkland islands, Europe, Middle East, Las Vegas to name but a few.

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Spencer started his musical career with a band called, First Class, who scored a big chart hit with Beach Baby in 1974. As a solo artist, Spencer had a lot to offer, delighting the small crowd with a whole host of sixties hits from icons such as Roy Orbison, Del Shannon, Bobby Vee, The Beatles, Gerry & The Pacemakers and many others, including those Liverpool legends he worked with, The Searchers. New tracks, written and recorded recently by Spencer in his own studio also played a big part in his repertoire. A very confident performer, he mixed the music with a number of extremely funny stories from his days spent touring with the band. My only criticism was that seeing him without the rest of the band felt strange, but credit where it's due, for putting on a very polished, rehearsed performance that had been well thought out. Hopefully, other Yorkshire towns with theatres will give their communities a chance to see him before too long.



Ray Clark - June 2019