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Birds of a Feather (Tour - Salford)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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In recent years we've seen many TV shows take to the stage. Yet, none have managed to achieve the winning combination of both writing and acting seen in this current stage version of Birds of a Feather.

Here the producers have reunited creators, Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran with two more of the TV show's most prolific writers, Gary Lawson and John Phelps, to write a brand-new script for the original cast, Pauline Quirke (Sharon), Linda Robson (Tracey) and Lesley Joseph (Dorien).

Now 15 years on, life has changed for the three characters, but the friendship, the bickering and the quick one liners are as strong as ever. The play opens in Tracey's house. The son she had in the final episode, Travis (played by Robson’s own son Louis Dunford, alternating with Quirke’s son, Charlie Quirke) is now nearly 16, and seems to have inherited his late dad's 'talent' for breaking and entering. Only the ashes he treasures in the lounge, aren't really his dad's at all. But that's just one of many secrets to be unveiled in this fast paced show.

There is reference made to Quirke's dramatic weight loss (eight stones in a year). And what of Dorien, the man-eating, neighbour from hell? Well, she can be found at Cherish Residential home for the well off elderly, so the two sisters set off to find her in the hope of a quick windfall.

The action switches between the lounge of Tracey's plush Chigwell home and the day room of the residential home, with some screen projection to keep the action moving during set changes. As you've probably guessed, nothing is straight forward and as the increasingly ludicrous plot unfolds, there are plenty of laughs along the way.

The three actresses slip seamlessly back into the roles they played for almost ten years. Their rapport on stage is a joy to watch and their enthusiasm is infectious. They are obviously enjoying themselves and so are the audience.

Birds of a Feather
is a must see for fans of the show and feel good escapism for those who haven't.

- Carmel Thomason


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