Acorn Antiques the Musical! Theatre Royal Haymarket, London, 2007

It was announced in 2007 that Victoria Wood had written a musical version of perhaps her most famous sketch. Acorn Antiques the Musical! was an all-singing, all-dancing stage version of the beloved TV spoof.  The West End production was staged at The Theatre Royal Haymarket in London and brought together Wood’s long-time collaborators. Julie Walters was to star as Mrs Overall along with the original cast from the series which included Celia Imrie (as Miss Babs) and Duncan Preston (Mr Clifford).  For two shows a week during the run, Victoria Wood was to play Mrs Overall but the role belonged to Julie Walters.  I saw the show during its limited sell-out run with Walters in the main role.  As I was sitting in the front row of the theatre and Walters made her entrance as Mrs Overall singing a song involving the rock star Ozzy Osbourne and a plate of Macaroons, I could not stop laughing at Walter’s classic outfit, performance and song.  So much so that my loud laugh stopped the song and the show.  Walters looked down at me from the stage laughing and said ‘you’re really getting this aren’t you Sir?’ This comment made me laugh louder and she then went to the back of the stage and joined the other performers to finish the song who were all in fits of laughter.  When they finished the song, the audience loved it and the performers applauded the audience and applauded me!  It was an unforgettable night and a very funny show. A few months later, in 2008, I met Julie Walters at a book launch of her autobiography That’s Another Story and as he was signing a copy of the book, I told her my story.  She smiled and closed the book.  As I walked away, I opened the book to see what she had written: ‘To Richard, thanks for making me laugh! Julie Walters

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