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Old jokes polishing up nicely for our Players
8:00pm Saturday 9th June 2012 in Theatre
THEY never seem to sell any antiques, but by gum do they do a roaring trade in old jokes.
Acorn Antiques, Victoria Wood’s hilarious send-up of cheap regional soap operas, is set in an antiques shop where everyone is too busy meeting their long-lost father, getting killed, or suffering other traumas, to worry too much about doing business. It drew a bigger audience on TV than many of the shows it set out to mock.
Wood cashed in on the series’ success by turning Acorn Antiques into a stage show, complete with songs. Acorn Antiques the Musical opened in the West End in 2005, with Les Miserables director Sir Trevor Nunn at the helm. Its limited run proved a sell-out success, and was followed by a national tour. Now the Players Theatre Company is to give the show its first amateur outing in Southend.
Acorn Antiques is set on a TV set, supposedly representing an antiques shop in the fictional town of Manchesterford. Soap opera storylines and sub-plots, many of them utterly daft, come, go and get forgotten. Cues get muffed and performers embark on hissy fits.
The Z-list cast struggles to deliver the dialogue delivered by the show’s dreadful scriptwriters. Characters who frequent the shop include Miss Babs, who lurches from love crisis to love crisis, and the handsome smoothie Clifford. Then there is Mrs Overall, played in the original TV show by Julie Walters, who believes every problem, even death, can be solved with a nice cup of tea.
There’s Jerez, who used to be a crooked postman but turns into a would-be do-gooder, and there is Trixie, a feisty one-time femme fatale .
All the parts are performed by Players Theatre Company regulars, under the direction of Julie Robinson, who founded the group in 2008, following the closure of Southend’s New Empire theatre.
She says. “Acorn Antiques is pure joy, and a treat for all ages.”
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