‘Florrie’ … not really the same kind of ring to it, when Jonathan Harvey’s play is such a splendid celebration of Coronation Street’s 50th birthday. A fast paced potted history, it’s distinctly potty in places, complete with a ballet and silent movie tribute.
The set is cunningingly contrived, inside and outdoors mixed up from rooftops (seagulls, no cat) to bedroom, and the inevitable staircase. Furnishings fly on and off, not to mention the infamous Blackpool tram and the barge.
Our host this evening is Reg Holdsworth (Ken Morley), aka the angel Gabriel (don’t ask), who magically keeps all the plates spinning and the plots turning. As for the marvellous cast, talk about playing many parts. Some a fraction better than others in that impersonation is spot on, appearance and dialogue greeted with gales of laughter: Jo Mousley as Hilda and Deirdre; Leanne Best as Gail and Rita; Lucy Thackeray as Elsie, Vera and Raquel (if not quite Annie Walker). Then there’s Peter Temple as a statuesque Bet and Daniel Crowder (from Brian to Stan). And Simon Chadwick (Jack etc) excels as Ken, who for such a boring man has some very interesting times.
Comedy is the mainspring of course. Scouse humour is naturally renowned but fair enough, Manchester is not far behind; those who have to live by their wits have little reason to resort to merry quips but still come up with an abundance of accurate observations made with characteristic dry humour.
Admittedly, I haven’t seen the programme for some time but thoroughly enjoyed the galloping around Memory Lane. And although it may mostly be enjoyed responsibly, or rather, riotously, by aficionados, the show’s exuberance will garner many more fans.