Review by: Paul Towers, 18 May 2016
Acorn Antiques the Musical by Victoria Wood
Wigston Amateur Operatic Society production
Little Theatre, Leicester 17th – 21st May 2016
“Pull on your Marigolds and grab a ticket.”
When Acorn Antiques the Musical first hit the stage in 2005 with most of the original cast from Victoria Wood on TV, the first half was a backstage story of the rehearsals for a completely different show that the cast had signed up for. This touring version is largely the revival version from 2006 which wisely ditched the original first half which sought to send up all those earnest back stage avant garde dirges.
The action now goes straight to the main story of Acorn Antiques, complete with shaking scenery, swinging backdrops, missed cues and dodgy props. It goes without saying that the storyline is as believable as the TV series.
Wood manages to parody all manner of musicals including Sweet Charity, Blood Brothers (‘Oh, the plot is like Blood Brothers’. ‘Well, yers, just shorter and with more laughs’!), Chicago (a wonderfully self indulgent opening number in the style of ‘Fob Boss’), Little Shop of Horrors, no end of Disney songs and, my personal favourite, several Sondheim songs. Blissful musical theatre.
With a talented live band in the orchestra pit the singers were able to pause for the inevitable laughter to die down (that happened many times).
The entire cast were superb but especial mention has to go to Julia Glover-Kirtland as Mrs Overall, not only a very physical part but the stand out comedy role in the show. Her scuffling gait was almost like she was channelling Julie Walters. Josie Tweddle as Miss Babs was in turns lecherous and desperate with a great belter of a voice.
The plot, such as it is, concerns the hunt for Misses Babs and Berta’s mother, their father’s will and the prevention of a takeover of the whole of Manchesterford by the evil coffee purveyors seeking to replace all those quaint independent traders.
This revised version is a fitting tribute to the late great Victoria Wood, taken too soon.
Pull on your Marigolds and grab a ticket before Saturday.
First published on Western Gazette