I am sure 2016 will be remembered as an annus horribilis. The sheer amount of talented people we have sadly lost and the year’s not halfway through. The deaths of Victoria Wood and Ronnie Corbett were especially big blows to me.
Just a fortnight ago, bets were already being placed on Glenn Close to secure the 2017 Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her commanding turn as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard – but I’d say all bets are off again. Sheridan Smith in Funny Girl has re-asserted her claim to declare “I am the greatest star, I am by far”.
‘Write what you know’ remains the best advice to any author and the story of how Michael Kirk picked up the plot of Hatched ‘n Dispatched from his 9-year-old observations of sexual shenanigans round the back of the Railway Institute in Derby is priceless. But years of exposure to sitcoms and pantomime mean his script, particularly in the larkier first half, can sound derived: the moment when Wendi Peters as grotesque matriarch Dorothy sends her daughters into the kitchen to cut sandwiches for a funeral with “you slice, I’ll butter” is lifted directly from an early Victoria Wood standup routine.
This is a clever construct: at the pearly gates, the “world’s highest paid entertainer” meets his inquisitors in St Peter (voiced by Stephen Fry) and God (Victoria Wood – “I made the world in six days and on the seventh I baked a fruit cake”) before an audience of angels decides his ultimate destination. Smartly […]
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Back in the days when boys became bands without the unwelcome attentions of Louis Walsh, or girls sang aloud without a televised vote – young Victoria Wood penned a simple, funny and sweet piece for the Sheffield Crucible based on her own experiences backstage in a provincial talent show. Revisiting it thirty years later, she […]
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