SMOKE rising from the chimney stack of a terrace house envelops a couple of pigeons perched on the rooftop.
Add the famous theme tune and the five-inch heels of Elsie Tanner and you have the perfect introduction to Coronation Street, via Corrie!
Fifty glorious years from Ena Sharples, hairnet and all, to superbitch Tracey Barlow are shrunk into glorious comedy and affectionate tribute at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal this week.
Corrie!, written by award-winning playwright and Street scriptwriter Jonathan Harvey, offers nothing but celebration.
Ken Morley, aka Reg Holdsworth, is in great form as the narrator and six actors – four of them have been in the real thing – rattle through more than 50 characters in this whistlestop Street tour.
Inevitably there are a few omissions – no Derek and Mavis or Sally, and rat-boy David is absent. But there are some dazzling performances in a show which manages to pay due respect to a national institution while at the same time producing a laugh-a-minute and some devastating portrayals.
Jo Mousley sparkles in contrasting roles as Ena and she brings a lump to the throat as Hilda unties the brown paper parcel containing the departed Stan’s effects, specs included. And she has Deirdre spot on, especially when she is behind bars in the ‘Free Deirdre’ campaign.
Leanne Best takes us through Gail’s disastrous love affairs (“It must be awful to be the kind of woman that reads men wrong.”) and is suitably evil as Tracey.
Simon Chadwick (Jack and an excellent Ken among others), Daniel Crowder (encompassing Peter Barlow and Steve McDonald), Peter Temple (ranging from Audrey to Roy Cropper) and Lucy Thackerey (Annie Walker, Elsie, Hayley etc and a superb little scene in which Carmel falls down the stairs) also excel.
Alan Bradley’s tram death scene, Ken’s canal boat affair and wife number one’s electrocution are other gems.
It all ends with the recent blaze and bridge collapse, with a moving scene involving Becky and the ghost of Elsie and with one certainty – the show’s millions of fans will love this play even though it is a bit irreverent.