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You are in: Suffolk > Entertainment > Theatre and Dance > Previews > Acorns to oaks with Wood?

Nick Pandolfi and Victoria Wood

Nick Pandolfi and Victoria Wood

Acorns to oaks with Wood?

Comedienne Victoria Wood is bringing her 1980s spoof Acorn Antiques to Ipswich. The premiere of the musical in London was directed by Suffolk boy Trevor Nunn, but Ms Wood is taking over the reigns for the nationwide tour.

Acorn Antiques has become something of a cult show since it first appeared on television in 1985 as a sketch in Victoria Wood's As Seen With programme which also starred Julie Walters, Celia Imrie and Duncan Preston (all pictured).  The Musical was written by Victoria Wood and it had a 16-week sold-out run at London's Haymarket Theatre in 2006.

Acorn Antiques, BBC 1980s

Acorn Antiques, BBC TV 1980s

The 2007 tour of the provinces starts in Salford and arrives at Cambridge Corn Exchange (29th Jan-3rd Feb), Ipswich Regent (5th Feb-10th Feb) and Southend Cliffs Pavilion (25th June-30th June).

Originally conceived as a spoof of Crossroads the musical version tells the story of Miss Babbs' struggle to keep the shop open and the threat posed by The Guilty Bean coffee shop chain.  None of the original four stars are appearing, but Sara Crowe (from those Philidelphia cheese ads .. as well as a host of theatre and television appearances) stars as Babs, Ria Jones is Mrs Overall, Lisa Peace is Berta and Teddy Kempner is Clifford.

Victoria Wood interview

The director was interviewed live on BBC Radio Suffolk by mid-morning presenter Nick Pandolfi in January 2007.

NP: As director, do you enjoy laying down the rules?

VW: It's not really about that - it's about casting them, getting them together on a stage and getting them to the end of it really.  I've always loved musicals and I thought Acorn Antiques would look good on a poster!  It was originally only a sketch in a larger show, but I did keep revisiting it and I like the fact that people can remember it.  I did also write a politically-correct version where everyone was a lesbian or black or in a wheelchair.

NP: So was Mrs Overall based on Noel Gordon from Crossroads?

VW: No, if it was based on anyone it was based on Amy Turtle or Mrs Mac from Take The High Road.  It was a homage to Crossroads but also to a terrible radio series called Waggoners Walk which was on then.

NP: So how hard was it to transfer to the stage?

VW: Well I had to pinch myself when Trevor Nunn was trying to demonstrate how Mrs Overall should work.  It had a limited-season in the West End and the critics liked it and it sold out.  Usually things are tested out in the provinces and then move to London but we're doing it the other way round.  If that goes well I'll take it to the amateurs!

Acorn Antiques The Musical

Acorn Antiques: The Musical

I've rewritten it slightly since the London show.   It starts with a street scene of all the High Street shops from a drapers to a piercing parlour.  While it wouldn't be true to say that Mrs Overall was rooted in reality, the musical audience becomes very fond of her and it has got a little bit of heart in it.

NP:  Where do you want to take Acorn Antiques?

VW:  It's a better show than when it was in the West End.  I'm just really happy that it's on the road.  I don't want to do the acting myself, not even in the London run.  It's all the same to me as long as the audience like it.  Bring your macaroons.

For more details of Acorn Antiques: the Musical! visit Ipswich Arts & Ents website using the link on the right or ring the box office on 01473 433100.

last updated: 23/04/2008 at 12:28
created: 25/01/2007

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