Review: Acorn Antiques - The Musical The Lyceum

VICTORIA WOOD'S ACORN ANTIQUES - THE MUSICAL!'by Croft House Theatre Company, Lyceum theatre, 19 March to 23 March L to R:  'Fiona Hannon (playing Miss Bonnie)'Kate Parkin (playing Miss Babs)'Helen Kempton (playing Mrs Overall)'Louise Walker (playing Miss Berta)
VICTORIA WOOD'S ACORN ANTIQUES - THE MUSICAL!'by Croft House Theatre Company, Lyceum theatre, 19 March to 23 March L to R: 'Fiona Hannon (playing Miss Bonnie)'Kate Parkin (playing Miss Babs)'Helen Kempton (playing Mrs Overall)'Louise Walker (playing Miss Berta)
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Maybe Acorn Antiques is God’s way of saying amateur theatre is alive and well and living this week in Sheffield. Virtuoso performances from the three main women characters in Victoria Wood’s homage to West End musicals ensures a night to remember.

Pulling off a show where characters are so well established by the original actors is no mean feat, but Kate Parkin’s Miss Babs and Louise Walker’s Miss Berta succeed with easy aplomb. But the night belongs to Helen Kempton who was every inch the Mrs Overall created by Julie Walters. Her walks, expressions, mannerisms and voice were simply wonderful.

With many song pastiches (where else would you get numbers like Macaroons and Shagarama) what fun it is to see how soon you can recognise the provenance.

This revised version of the show gets rid of the drab act one of the original and instead goes all out as a full blown musical. On TV Acorn Antiques was all wobbly flats and missed cues with mannered acting as corny as the gags. And so it was with this.

To be bad, actors have to be good. But there were no problems on that score from the Croft House Theatre Company ensemble who were enjoying every minute.

Director Mark Harris ensured a cracking pace as did musical director Andy Booth with the songs.

Like the soap operas that spawned the original spoof there is little in the way of narrative tension. The plot captures all the unlikely scenarios of a typical soap but the storyline of Acorn Antiques threatened by chain stores over-running the High Street is eerily topical.

It is so Victoria Wood.

Alan Powell