GALLERY: Viva production Acorn Antiques described as "brilliant" by National Operatic and Dramatic Association

PUBLISHED: 16:28 13 November 2014 | UPDATED: 16:28 13 November 2014

Acorn Antiques by Viva.

Acorn Antiques by Viva.

Archant

The Viva Theatre Company's sell-out production Acorn Antiques was a major hit with critics as well as punters.

Acorn Antiques by Viva.Acorn Antiques by Viva.

The show, at The Brook in Soham, received a glowing review from the National Operatic and Dramatic Association:

I doubt there will be many people who have not seen or heard of Acorn Antiques by Victoria Wood.

Director David Tickner’s interpretation of Victoria Wood’s gem was first class.

This show hit the ground running and the audience was laughing from the opening right through to the curtain call.

Acorn Antiques by Viva.Acorn Antiques by Viva.

This musical is loosely based on other TV shows such as the legendary Crossroads and has the inevitable unexpected and ill-timed entrances (or not) and depicted wobbly sets; this could not be said of this show which had a pretty convincing set.

Manchesterford High Street is home to some eccentric and colourful shopkeepers, all of them brought to life by the ensemble who embraced each character.

It was evident from curtain up that these performers were a team.

After the excellent opening number we ‘entered’ the Acorn Antiques’ shop and the first two people in are stereotypical YTS types Hugh and Mimi played convincingly by Charlie Ellertona and Kerry Hibbert, they were perfect and never slipped from their characterisations.

Leading from the front was Anthea Kennaas the flirty Miss Babs who delivered a superb performance, as Tracey Summers did similarly in the role of the more demur Miss Berta.

Shellie Baigent was excellent as Bonnie, the third sister, delighting in her evil plans.

David Tickner as the amnesia-ridden Mr. Clifford, the would be fiancé of Miss Berta, combined the use of comedy and pathos necessary to the success of his character admirably.

Lee Sherwood was hilarious as the loan shark Tony, complete with an amazingly hairy chest and stylised macho stance.

Of course the character in this show which everyone knows and loves is the coveted role of Mrs Overall originally created by the incomparable Julie Walters.

I really can’t praise Mary Barnes’ bravura performance enough. This a very demanding role, it requires unlimited stamina and exceptional comic timing, these qualities this actress has in abundance.

This show calls for a huge cast of characters all of whom, such is the quality of Victoria Wood’s writing, have their moment in the spotlight.

Full marks to “the shopkeepers” David Moat (Mr Furlong), Sarah Shorney (Christine), Angela Bocking (Miss Willoughby) and who could forget that ‘lovely couple’ Lloyd Popp (Mr Watkins) and Ben Clark (Derek).

Further great support came from Kate Weekes (Lucy), Scott Robertson (Postman), Vicki Jelleyman (Miss Cuff), Lesley Wood (Miss Wellbelove), Hannah Theobald, Olivia Fahy and Sammy Williams as Tony’s backing singers Debs, Bev and Ev and bringing up the rear Laura Davies as Young Mrs O in the ‘dream sequence’.

Given the limitations of the venue the technical team achieved a high standard. The set was good and the props, lighting and sound effective and well executed.

The costumes were excellent and wigs were all very good and greatly enhanced the production.

Musical director, Stephen Kenna did an excellent job too, overall both principal and chorus singing was of a very good standard.

I always enjoy Louise Plummer’s choreography, and this show was no exception, there were some very good routines well executed by the cast.

Anyone who attended this sell out production certainly had a treat. The whole show was brilliant and provided a hugely enjoyable evening’s entertainment.

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