Acorn Antiques Finishes After 16 Weeks & WaltersDate: 25 April 2005
Comedian Victoria Wood’s debut musical – which made headlines as much for its ticket prices (setting a new benchmark with top seats at £65 on weekends) as for its starry cast, led by Julie Walters – will close next month at the West End’s Theatre Royal Haymarket. It opened on 10 February 2005 (previews from 31 January). It will now finish, at the end of its current booking period, on 21 May 2005 after a run of 16 weeks.
The ‘limited’ season runs counter to Wood’s earlier comments. At a press conference to launch Acorn Antiques to the media last year (See News, 2 Dec 2004), she said that the run was open-ended and she hoped that the show would become a long-running West End hit. She likened the ongoing casting for a replacement to Walters - who reprises her role as Mrs Overall in Wood’s 1980s TV series on which the musical is based - to “the hunt for the new Scarlet O’Hara”.
However, it now seems that recasting proved insurmountable. The show finishes at the completion of Walters’ contract. In addition to Walters, the cast features Celia Imrie and Duncan Preston, reprising their roles as Miss Babs and Mr Clifford from the original TV show, as well as Neil Morrissey, Josie Lawrence and Sally Ann Triplett. Wood alternates with Walters as Mrs Overall on Monday evenings and Wednesday matinees.
A show within a show (within a show), Acorn Antiques follows Miss Babs’ struggle to keep the antiques shop open in the face of competition from multi-national chains, in particular The Guilty Bean coffee shop. The production is directed by Trevor Nunn and designed by Stephen Brimson-Lewis.
- by Terri Paddock