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Preview; ACORN ANTIQUES Gladstone Theatre.

Byline: Catherine Jones

AH Acorn Antiques, the delicious parody of all those telly soaps where the walls are distinctly wobbly and the cast keen but undone by appalling dialogue and austerity production values.

Crossroads anyone? Victoria Wood's arch sketches were part of her As Seen On TV shows for three years from 1985-7, bringing the world Everyman alumnus Julia Walters as the wonderful charlady Mrs Overall and Celia Imrie as the impressivelycoiffured Miss Babs, Acorn Antiques' very own Noele Gordon. Seven years ago Wood took the idea and turned it from weekly sketches into a full-blown musical, transporting goings on in her fictional town Manchesterford from screen to stage. It opened in the West End in 2005 and was revived for a UK tour in 2006.

Two years ago it was given its first amateur performance, and now St Pauls Operatic Society is set to perform the first amateur production of the show in Merseyside, with a four-night run at the Gladstone Theatre in Port Sunlight next month.

The all-singing, all-dancing and fully overalled stage version of the TV series sees sisters Miss Babs and Miss Berta run Acorn Antiques aided and amused by their friends.

They struggle to keep their antiques business open as shop after shop in the High Street closes.

A devious third sister Miss Bonnie plans to sell the shop to The Guilty Bean (the world's second biggest chain of coffee shops - "We're second so we grind harder").

All three sisters are faced with family secrets, life-changing acting and high-spirited musical numbers.

Can they still employ Mrs Overall? Will Mr Clifford ever get his memory back and remember who he's engaged to? And most worryingly, will Mrs Overall be able to tap dance while holding the tray? The cast includes Penny Morris as Mrs Overall, Maxine Hughes as Miss Babs and Lee Griffiths as Mr Clifford.

St Paul's Operatic Society is based in Wallasey. It was established in 1906 and performs anything from grand opera to modern musicals, producing one major show and two concerts each year.

. ? St Paul's Operatic Society presents Acorn Antiques at the Gladstone Theatre in Port Sunlight from June 20-23. Tickets are pounds 15 on 0151-643 8757or online at www.gladstonetheatre.org.uk.
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Article Type:Theater review
Date:May 28, 2012
Words:371
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