Wealth of talent in rags-to-riches musical

BURSTING with challenging musical numbers, Spend, Spend, Spend - the story of pools winner Viv Nicholson s sudden rise from rags-to-riches and back again - was always going to be a huge test for the Thistles Musical Theatre Company. However, despite a sha

BURSTING with challenging musical numbers, Spend, Spend, Spend - the story of pools winner Viv Nicholson's sudden rise from rags-to-riches and back again - was always going to be a huge test for the Thistles Musical Theatre Company.

However, despite a shaky start, the cast found their feet and succeeded in portraying the highs and lows of Viv's colourful life with confidence at the Kenneth More Theatre, Ilford, last week.

Edmund Lahiff's interpretation of George, Viv's drunken father, was truly stand-out and his booming voice led the impressive male chorus admirably.

Claire Taylor showed much promise as the young Viv and should be congratulated on her singing and acting.


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While some of the other actors struggled with the Yorkshire accent, she mastered it with ease and through moving renditions of Who's Gonna Love Me? and Canary in a Cage, she successfully engaged with the audience.

Viv the narrator is one of the most demanding roles in the play, as she is on stage throughout. Stevie Permutt had a good stab at it and her portrayal was at times emotive. However, her voice struggled to cope with the range in a number of songs and her performance lost momentum as a result.

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Individual performances aside, it was the chorus scenes that brought the play to life.

The company conveyed a tangible sense of community spirit, so important in the gritty world of 1960s Yorkshire when times were hard for mining families.

Spend, Spend, Spend is a funny yet tragic tale and under the direction of Steve Liversedge, the cast got this balance right.

- LINDSAY WATLING

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