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Posts Tagged ‘Karen Mann’

The review below is from this production’s first outing 15 months ago. Now on tour, I caught it in Richmond. It’s lost a little of its fizz – partly because it’s in a much bigger theatre (which on Saturday night was shamefully less than half full) – but it’s still a lot of fun. Half of the original cast (including all three leads) are still with the show and the musical standards are, if anything, higher. Not to be missed.

Watermill Theatre, Newbury – August 2009

I’ve fond memories of the original West End production of this show, though it seems like an age ago, but this production is so good it wipes them out. This is the 6th of the Watermill Theatre Newbury actor-musican chamber musical revivals that I’ve seen – the third at their home base – and its amongst the best.

It’s the story of the notorious pools winner, Viv Nicholson, and it has a great score and a real 60’s working class sensibility. As it’s a musical comedy, they can have fun with the integration of the instruments, such as a xylophone doubling up as a hairdressers tray whilst it’s being played! The choreography is witty, incorporating stubbing out cigarettes (there are a lot of cigarettes!) and V signs (there are a lot of V signs, and I don’t mean Victory!). The design is terrific, full of period detail, enabling speedy switches from hairdressing saloon to bedroom to pub…..

Karen Mann is great as older Viv, narrating her story (and playing trumpet!) and Kirsty Hoiles is terrific as younger Viv, and they have as fine a supporting cast as you could wish for.

If this one doesn’t transfer to the West End, like three before it, there’s no justice. Wondeful stuff.

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