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Posts Tagged ‘Roy Barraclough’

Another show, another exclamation mark….and here I am outing myself as a Coronation Street fan. Well, if I wasn’t, there’d be no point in going to see this – it’s one long in-joke (shared by between 15 and 20 million people).

Jonathan Harvey has distilled the essence of the show over 50 years into two hours of scenes involving 54 characters played out by six actors and narrated by a Corrie legend in person – Roy Barraclough. The love lives of Ken, Deirdre and Gail provide running jokes, one complicated story line is played out as a ballet and another as a silent movie and the set provides the rooftops, Rovers Return bar, generic door, generic staircase and Hilda’s muriel and flying ducks!

Each actor plays between six and twelve characters with seven female characters played by men. The number of quick changes is extraordinary. The most successful were Jo Mousley as Ena, Hilda, Deirdre, Karen & Shelley; Peter Temple as Audrey, Bet, Blanche, Jason & Roy and Lucy Thackeray as Annie, Elsie, Hayley, Martha, Raquel & Vera. I appreciate how difficult it must be to cover 50 years, but there were some notable omissions, including Reg & Maureen, Mavis & Derek, Len, Curley, Alf, Betty, Liz, Albert and all the Battersby’s and Webster’s!

In style, it reminded me of The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged) which has been touring for more than 20 years since it first appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe. There was a tackiness about the production values that was both necessary, given the number of settings and characters, and somehow appropriate. It was quite rightly played for laughs, though a few scenes didn’t quite work. A lot of the time though it was laugh out loud funny and it was clear how well the audience knew the characters.

Clearly one for fans only, but if you are a fan it’s an affectionate and funny homage that’s difficult to resist.

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