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Acorn Antiques Theatre review on this page

Acorn Antiques – The Musical
By Victoria Wood

Ria Jones, Sara Crowe, Lisa Peace, Kim Ismay, Teddy Kempner,
Alistair Robins, Michael Melmoe, Beverly Rudd
Musical Director: Nigel Lilley
Producer: Phil McIntyre

Liverpool Empire Theatre
Monday 12th March, 2007

Acorn Antiques  promotional image


God, 2006 seems so long ago but thanks to Victoria Wood’s Acorn Antiques – The Musical those days of yore are brought refreshingly back to life with a smattering of good old- fashioned English slapstick and innuendo.

Oh for the days when ladies wore Twin-sets, the men wore sensible suits and the kids knew their place. No coffee shops to sell anything other than coffee – which, somewhat quaintly were called café’s and NOT coffee shops anyway – and when corporate overwhelming was something to do with the brothel users of Tokyo.

When the Duchess of Manchesterford raise the rents of all the shops in the village 5,000%, some sell out but Acorn Antiques resists the lure of filthy lucre … or at least tries to … until Babs’s father’s inheritance, and es-stranged mother, can be found. No, that’s not a spelling mistake. Es-stranged is the word. The musical follows Miss
Babs’ struggle to keep her antiques business open, as shop after shop in the High Street is forced out by faceless chains…can she afford to turn down the offer from The Guilty Bean (the world’s second biggest chain of coffee shops – “We’re second so we grind harder”) and if they do update the shop, can they still afford to employ Mrs Overall? And will Mr Clifford ever get his memory back, and remember who he’s engaged to? And most worryingly, will Mrs Overall be able to tap dance while holding the tray?

Acorn Antiques – The Musical, came as something of a surprise. Not so much that it was funny – Victoria Wood wrote it after all. No, it was the fact that it was also extremely clever and brilliantly performed. Relying heavily on things appearing to go wrong like bits of set collapsing, equipment going wrong and actors forgetting lines, one was reminded of Les Dawson at the piano. The fact that Dawson was an accomplished pianist didn’t matter. You have to be good to play so badly and the cast of this show are good. Very good.
Stealing the show, naturally, is Ria Jones playing Mrs. Overall, the macaroon and Parkin obsessed Daily of Babs and Berta. Jones played the part made famous by Julie Walters on TV with accomplished and stylish aplomb and demonstrated a versatility that, at times was astonishing.

Sara Crowe is delightfully wacky. The sex-obsessed-yet-demure owner of Acorn Antiques is a delight to watch perform, as she propels the story along with some fantastic one-liners and a sense of comic timing that is impeccable.

Lisa Peace, Babs’s marriage obsessed sister, Berta, is also superb, with a singing voice to match. Her rendition of That Which Could Remind Him is both funny and sad. What else would you expect from the pen of Ms. Wood?

Other fine performances came from Teddy Kempner as Mr. Clifford, Berta’s amnesia riddled fiancé, Michael Melmoe as Hugh, the work experience boy and game Show guru and, above all, Beverly Rudd playing the role of Mimi, Hugh’s girlfriend and co-worker. The way in which Rudd manages to stay in “thicko” mode with all the faces to match, is a joy to see and very difficult to achieve for so long.

The sets, though relatively simple, are highly effective and the costumes manage to rekindle memories of days gone by without ever being worn out.

Overall – no pun intended – this is an evening of superb entertainment that may not get you screaming for more, but will certainly leave you with a rosy glow of satisfaction having seen it.
8/10

www.acornantiquesthemusical.com

TOUR DATES 2007

12 March – 17 March
LIVERPOOL, EMPIRE THEATRE
Tel: 0870 606 3536
www.livenation.co.uk/liverpool

19 March – 24 March
YORK, GRAND OPERA HOUSE
Tel: 0870 606 3595

26 March – 31 March
PRESTON, CHARTER THEATRE
Tel: 0845 344 2012


APRIL 2007

2 April -7 April
LEEDS, GRAND THEATRE
Tel: 0870 122 2815

9 April – 14 April
SHEFFIELD, LYCEUM THEATRE
Tel: 0114 249 6000

16 April – 21 April
DARLINGTON, CIVIC THEATRE
Tel: 01325 486 555

23 April – 28 April
RICHMOND THEATRE
Tel: 0870 060 6651

30 April – 5 May
NOTTINGHAM, THEATRE ROYAL
Tel: 0115 989 5555

MAY 2007

7 May – 12 May
CANTERBURY, MARLOWE THEATRE
Tel: 01227 787 787

14 May – 19 May
READING,THE HEXAGON
Tel: 0118 960 6060

21 May – 27 May
BATH, THEATRE ROYAL
Tel: 01225 448 844

28 May – 2 June
MILTON KEYNES THEATRE
Tel: 0870 060 6652

JUNE 2007

4 June – 9 June
PLYMOUTH, THEATRE ROYAL
Tel: 01752 267 222

11 June – 16 June
BOURNEMOUTH, PAVILION
Tel: 0870 111 3000

25 June – 30 June
SOUTHEND, CLIFFS PAVILION
Tel: 01702 351 135


JULY 2007

2 July – 7 July
CANOLFAN MILENIWM CYMRU - WALES MILLENIUM CENTRE
Tel: 08700 40 2000

 

Click here to view details and book for the Liverpool Empire Theatre


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