Mighty oaks from little acorns grow, so the saying goes. And award-winning Coleshill Operatic Society does its very best to take the musical adaptation of the iconic television parody Acorn Antiques and make it something mighty at the Core Theatre in Solihull this week.
The amateur version places Acorn Antiques in Manchesterford, where the store is threatened by a plan to turn the high street into a consumerist utopia. Mr Clifford, Miss Babs and Miss Berta fight to stave off a hostile takeover from coffee company representative Bonnie but a startling revelation changes everything.
There are some laudable performances from the company. Mickie Brown is enjoyable as a rather brash Mrs Overall, while Liane Hughes and Claire Collins make a good comedy act as Miss Babs and Miss Berta, supported really well by a commanding Karen Swann as Bonnie.
Meanwhile Paul Gosnay is just the ticket as Mr Clifford and Mark Hughes nails smarmy, emotionless loan shark Tony.
Even Sydney Evans and Lewis Reeves do well as Mimi and Hugh and Christine Standford stands out in a delightful performance as occasional thong-wearing shop owner Christine.
Translating television to stage is never easy and some of the things that made the original so great, the farcical camera work and subtle looks, are understandably not possible. Nonetheless Wood’s comic genius pops up all too infrequently in this version of the show and unfortunately there's a real lack of pace - particularly in a mammoth first act.
It almost feels like the changes made to the Olivier-nominated professional version have taken away it's magic - certainly not the society's fault.
Chris Corcoran’s orchestra does a great job and some of the more enjoyable numbers include Doing the Tip Top Tap, which includes some good choreography from Mickie Brown, Shagarama and perhaps the strongest - The Old Small Print, performed well by Tony and his loan-sharking assistants.
Well done to the society and to director Joyce Eyre - it’s great to see a group take on a new show and there’s clearly no shortage of talent here. Sadly the stage show just doesn't quite capture the sprinkle of Victoria Wood magic that grew Acorn Antiques into a mighty, comedy oak.
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