IT must have been soul destroying for director Bill Platt and his cast for this ambitious play, receiving its amateur premiere at the Garrick, to open to a theatre which was less than half full.
All your favourite soap characters are here in Jonathan Harvey’s love letter to Weaterfield, as are some of the story lines that helped turn the show into a much loved TV institution.
While I’ve not watched the programme on a regular basis since I was a student - more years ago than I can remember - I really loved spending time with its lovable clown figures like Jack and Vera Duckworth (pictured being played here).
It is fair to say that none of today’s characters have the same mystique as Elsie Tanner, who always looked so out of place on those world famous cobbles. It’s as if she’s just stepped out of one of those old black and white films they used to show on soggy Saturday afternoons when I was a kid.
Harvey takes a largely lighthearted look at the famous plot lines but managed to add a dash of poignancy too, such as the scene in which we find Hilda Ogden mourning her late husband, Stan. Oh yes, the mural provides the backdrop of course.
We also see Rita’s dodgy beau Alan Bradley meet his end when he’s hit by a tram in Blackpool.
Guiding us through proceedings is Martin Oldfield.
All of this begs the question - why did so many people decide to stay away? While some of the actors are more successful than others when it comes to capturing the mannerisms and look of the Coronation Street characters, I’m sure I’ve not the only one who relished an opportunity to escape the long running farce that is British politics at the moment.
By ‘eck, this is great fun.
Until September 15. The box office is on 0161 928 1677. Star rating - ****