Victoria Wood and co. take 'Acorn Antiques' to West End as musical

They ate their first macaroons together nearly 20 years ago and now they are reuniting to do so again. But this time the cast of "Acorn Antiques" will be all-singing and dancing as Victoria Wood has turned her spoof soap sketches into a musical.

They ate their first macaroons together nearly 20 years ago and now they are reuniting to do so again. But this time the cast of "Acorn Antiques" will be all-singing and dancing as Victoria Wood has turned her spoof soap sketches into a musical.

Mrs Overall, played by Julie Walters "except on bingo nights", Miss Babs (Celia Imrie) and Mr Clifford (Duncan Preston) will be joined by Neil Morrissey, Josie Lawrence and Sally Ann Triplett, the star of the National Theatre's Anything Goes, for the production, which will open in February.

On Monday evenings and Wednesday matinees, Wood will step into the role of the cleaner Mrs Overall to give Walters a break from the demands of eight performances a week.

Wood said: "I wanted to write a musical and it was just a brainwave - why not make it about Acorn Antiques which is something that people can recognise? I didn't write it with the purpose of having [the original cast members] in it, so it's a huge bonus that they are."

The musical will tell the story of a pretentious director, played by Morrissey in a reprise of his current role as a pretentious director in Cloaca at the Old Vic, rehearsing his new work which is a "bleak and uncompromising look at life in modern Britain".

In an attempt to lure the middle classes to see it, he has called it Acorn Antiques and engaged some of the original cast of the axed television soap - inspired by Crossroads - to play their own parts.

But Walters' character is appalled at the tone of his dark script and tries to shoe-horn in some lovely numbers from a musical she appeared in nearly 50 years ago.

Wood said it felt "fantastic" to be doing the show that she first thought of in 2001. She began writing the following year and held workshops to try it out in February. Trevor Nunn, the former head of the National Theatre, is the director.

She said taking part herself seemed a good way of pleasing the audience, but added: "If the show works, and I think it will work as entertainment, it should be irrelevant [who is doing it]. It's Julie's performance done by me. I'm just going to copy it, with a different pinny possibly."

Walters, who will appear for the first 16 weeks, said she was taking part because she thought it would be a "great pleasure" although it is her first West End musical and would be a challenge. "The last time I had to do tap-dancing I nearly kicked myself to death doing it.".

She added: "The music is fantastic. I can't tell you how brilliant the music is. I think it will appeal to everybody."

Walters played a dance teacher in the film Billy Elliot that is itself now being turned into a musical. She discussed appearing in the stage version with its director, Stephen Daldry, but was doing Acorn Antiques instead.

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