Tuesday, October 06, 2009


live on stage at the Civic Theatre


Imagine landing the part of Richard III, and then having to do it just like Olivier.

That's how it must be for the cast of Dinnerladies, a national tour which looked in at the Civic on its way from Salford to Bournemouth.

A mash-up of several episodes of the Victoria Wood sitcom, it transferred very well to the stage, thanks to a talented cast who not only managed to embody the original characters but also delivered the lines with perfect comic timing.

Delightfully dotty dialogue, harmless innuendo and simple plot lines kept the audience in stitches: Marbella was a leitmotiv, there was a lovely riff on funeral poetry, and umpteen references to body parts and private functions. And nostalgia aplenty, from "Calling All Workers" to a myriad of trade names past.

Krupa Pattani, new to the role of Anita on this opening night, was superb – a lovely dim-witted innocent – and she got some of the best laughs of the evening. Laura Sheppard was uncannily good in the role created by Wood, and Jacqueline Clarke was excellent as her mad mother, the lady in the van. Peter Brad-Leigh made the most of his minor part as frustrated diner Bob.

Two survivors off the telly – Sue Devaney, hilarious as Jane from planning, and Andrew Dunn as Catering Manager and love interest Tony Martin.

Dinnerladies was adapted and directed by David Graham for the Comedy Theatre Company.

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