Thursday, April 28, 2005

At the risk of casting doubts on my sexuality, can I just rave for a moment about Acorn Antiques the Musical, Victoria Wood's new show, which I saw yesterday with my Mum at the Haymarket Theatre. Phil says disparagingly that Victoria Wood is a one-trick pony. Well if that's so (which I dispute), it's a great trick.

It was Julie Walters' bingo night (well that's what the programme said) so we were treated to Ms Wood herself on stage as Mrs Overall. There was so much funny dialogue in this show, which I had expected, but I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the music (which Victoria also wrote) - wonderful bubbly stuff with great tunes. There was even a touching love-song thrown in, delivered absolutely straight by Miss Berta. My favourite was Mrs O's song about her preference for tray bakes over sex (a favourite VW theme) and there was also a great 70's disco pastiche with some incredible crotch grinding dance moves from Duncan Preston.

I love the English quality of Victoria Wood's humour, the use of place names for bathos ("I'm a Brummie - that's God's way of making you live in Birmingham"), her affectionate taking a rise out of nostalgia (in the middle of a conversation about breast enhancement: "In my day we used two Cornish pasties. If he didn't fancy you naked, at least no-one went hungry"), the frequent allusions to the ailments of old-age for comedic effect, the deflating of sex's grand promises, the perfectly accurate capture of regional (especially Lancashire) patterns of speech. It was hilarious, heartening stuff. Among the cast Celia Imrie in particular was wonderful, and only Neil Morrissey grated slightly. I'm very tempted to go back and see it again when Julie Walters is on.

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