Interpretation of Wood classic a great success

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REVIEW: Victoria Wood’s Acorn Antiques: The Musical

By Spalding Amateur Dramatic and operatic Society (SADOS)

South Holland Centre, Spalding

Thursday, May 23

A good joke is funny whoever tells it and the same goes for this parodic musical. Victoria Wood may have sprinkled her genius on the original, but the great comedy acting and singing under the inspired direction of Martin Tyrrell insured audiences were still rolling in the aisles eight years later.

I was told this was a send-up on 70s soap opera Crossroads and, having not seen it, I may not appreciate all the humour. Not so.

From the opening scene with saucy lollipop lady Lucy (Abi Bourne) to the glitzy finale, it was laughs and innuendo in Manchesterford all the way and I loved it.

Trish Burgess had such big shoes to fill as Mrs Overall, a role played previously by Wood and Julie Walters, but she pulled it off with aplomb and made the character her own.

Debs Richards seemed to draw more on Are You Being Served’s Miss Slocombe than anyone from Crossroads and was superb as the sexually repressed Miss Babs.

Her long-lost sister, the scary yet vulnerable Miss Bonnie, was played to a tee by Anita Heaton – and the third triplet, Miss Berta, provided a vehicle for former Spalding Flower Queen Daisy Ivatt to showcase some assured acting and impressive singing.

Clive Bourne portrayed the bumbling Mr Clifford with great comic timing and the duo of Laura Scott (Mimi) and Zack Colam (Hugh) were perfect “pitiful adolescents”.

But if Trish Burgess was the star of the show, she was pushed close by the superb Daran Bland as loan shark Tony, once played by Neil Morrissey.

His “Boycey” interpretation was superb and his whole demeanour suited the role perfectly.

Paul Coleman (Mr Watkins) and Andrew Canham’s (Derek) interpretation of the only gays in Manchesterford was delicate yet hilarious and Beverley Moore (Miss Willoughby/Bev), Collette Coleman (Miss Cuff/Debs), Jane Fulford (Miss Wellbeloved) and Ben White (Mr Furlong) were superb in supporting roles.

This was Abi Bourne’s final major SADOS production before taking up a place at Erts Ed in London and she shone and titillated as the sexy Lucy.

Matt Heaton (postman) was assured in his first -ever role and Kevin Palmer made me laugh with his cameo appearances as Minchins Lad.

The chorus girls – Michelle Cook, Kayleigh Putterill, Natalie Sharp, Charlotte Brooks and Iveta Mif – looked far from out of place and in Iveta, with her beauty, dancing and stage presence, SADOS surely has a star for the future.

Director Tyrrell pulled off a piece of comic genius with the conundrum of what to do during the minute the shop-front set was pulled up to reveal the inside of the antiques shop.

His masterstroke was to have various members of the cast waiting impatiently and ad-libbing as the set slowly lifted, and what could have been an awkward, curtains closing moment, received some of the biggest laughs of the night.

And the orchestra kept things ticking along nicely and even played its part in the hilarity.

How to sum up? What a musical, what a night and what a talented set of actors.

Jeremy Ransome