Like all the best vintage shops, I entered Acorn Antiques expecting to find one thing, and emerged with something entirely different.
Joseph Rowntree Theatre
Till Sat Oct 22 @ 7.30pm; Sat matinee @ 2.30pm
Based on the wonderful Crossroads spoof in Victoria Wood’s classic sketch shows, I assumed we were in for an affectionate comedy riff on terrible Seventies TV.
Instead we got a song and dance spectacular, featuring torch songs, full-cast tap dance numbers and a sparkling finale, complete with glitter-dusted rubber gloves and gold lamé aprons.
Fans of the telly original will be relieved to know that all their favourites are here. Shop owner Miss Babs, played with indefatigable perkiness by Kathryn Addison. Her twin sister Miss Berta – a cheerfully lovesick Kelly Derbyshire.
Ever-smiling Mr Clifford, brought to the Joseph Rowntree stage with a twinkle in his eye, a spring in his step and a crease in his trouser by Mick Liversidge.
And of course the one and only Mrs Overall. Taking on the role created by Julie Walters is not easy but, aside from her spookily accurate Brummie impersonation, Jessa Liversidge make the role her own, bringing an extra element of bawdy slapstick to the ageing cleaner.
Like the rest of the show the plot is defiantly daft, involving a fight to keep Manchesterford high street free of tanning salons and Botox boutiques, an amnesiac love affair, reunited triplets and a missing will (oh, and look out for a star cameo early on…)
There are some classic Victoria Wood gags, like the moment when Miss Babs confides that the target of her affections might be impotent – to which Miss Overall replies, “Sometimes that’s god’s way of getting him to decorate the spare bedroom.”
The songs were bright and breezy – and, when involving the ensemble in full harmony, rousing too; although Wood’s clever wordplay is sometimes hard to hear.
All the supporting cast add to the fun, from Matthew Ainsworth and Amy Lacy as Hugh and Mimi the ‘pitiful’ shop interns, Larry Gibson and Malcolm Poole as pair of buttoned-up gay marrieds, Kayleigh Oliver as interloper Miss Berta and Anna Mitchelson in various roles including a lollipop lady who undergoes quite the makeover…
The unbridled enjoyment of the cast is infectious, and director Paul Laidlaw gives full rein to the spirit of silliness which imbues the evening.
You’ve got until Saturday to take a trip to Acorn Antiques. But be quick: apparently tickets are selling like hot macaroons…