Sunday, 15 January 2012

Review: 1968 Coronation Street at the Lass O'Gowrie, Manchester

You'll have to excuse any spelling errors in this blog post, I'm a little bit merry after drinking the afternoon away on Ena's Cuppa. I don't know what she puts in it put it was being served up behind the bar at the Lass O'Gowrie pub this afternoon where I spent a very happy few hours with our blogger Sunny Jim and a couple of friends who enjoy Corrie as much as we do.

Corrie fan Emma has already posted a little review of the Corrie 1968 live episodes which have been acted out in the Lass O'Gowrie pub this week as part of their winter festival called LassFest. While the Corrie episodes are finished now, the festival is still going on until February and you can find out more at http://www.lassfest.co.uk/

And so to Corrie.  We watched three live episodes acted right in front of us. The episodes were all written by Jack Rosenthal and Jack's widow, the wonderful Maureen Lipman was in the very small audience (maximum allowed in was 30) with us.

The first episode from 1968 was Stan and Hilda Ogden's visit to a Chinese restaurant for their first ever foreign meal.  The casting was superb with Joan Kempson as Hilda who got Hilda's sing-song voice down to a tee.   The dialogue was far funnier than you remember 1960s Corrie being, it came faster too. The show was performed 'in the promenade' which meant the audience had to follow the action around the pub. Sometimes we were in the bar, watching Annie and Jack Walker - played by the wonderful Dave Dutton who has appeared on Corrie in eight different roles - bicker. And other times we were in the corner shop with Ena and Emily, and then again we moved to join Stan and Hilda in the Chinese resturant, or the 'Golden Mandolin' as Hilda wrongly, wonderfully pronounced it.

After a wonderful episode that finished with a terrified Ena investigating a loud crash in the corner shop, Dave Browning's trumpet solo ended the show and it was back to the bar for another pint of Ena's Cuppa. And er, another.

And then we were treated to two Corrie episodes of the wedding of Dennis Tanner to Jenny Sutton. Special mention goes to actor David Crowley for his performance as Dennis. We all raised our glasses at the wedding, and it was a poignant moment when Jerry Booth walked out and away from the Street, saying goodbye to Len, who couldn't hear him, and nobody even noticed he had gone.  A wonderful Elsie Tanner was played by actress Jeni Howarth Williams but there wasn't one single member of the cast whom I can possibly single out, they were all absolutely fantastic.

It was great to see actress Emma Edmondson, who once played Corrie's Mel Morton, on stage as a stroppy teenage Lucille Hewitt.  She was wonderful to watch. As was Tom Burroughs who played Jery Booth. Eagle-eyed Corrie fans will spot Tom's name as he played the tram driver in the Corrie tram crash.

The event was raising awareness for the charity Myeloma UK which was the disease that Jack Rosenthal died from. And Maureen Lipman gave a very moving speech about Jack, a speech laced with both humour and tears.

And then the night ended, much too soon.  But the cast were all ready to do it all over again, for a special show for Corrie cast and crew, some of whom started to arrive in the pub before we'd finished our final glass of Ena's Cuppa.  We saw famous Corrie faces and all I can say is that they're always much shorter in real life than they appear on screen.  No names will be mentioned!

It's been a wonderful event, well worth making the journey from the north-east to the north-west for and worth spending the time and money on a weekend in Manchester for. If this fantastic event should run again next year, get your tickets soon because they had to turn away people from the door who wanted to get in.

Special thanks go to Dave Dutton for taking your rather shy blog editor by the hand, into the Snug at the Lass O'Gowrie pub and introducing me to the Corrie cast.

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3 comments:

Tvor said...

It sounds wonderful! THanks for the post!

Anonymous said...

Fabulous review, makes me wish I could have been there! Please send them to Canada!

Anonymous said...

actually having had the chance to see a couple of the episodes earlier this week, I do have to agree with the earlier comment about the northern Irish actor as his 'Manchester' accent did unfortunately leave a lot to be desired! The northern Irish drawl could not be disguised and was a far cry from the natural northern accents of the other actors..all of whom were spot on, whoever cast them.
As for Ena,well he/she was actually one of the most popular judging by the audience reaction! I enjoyed the production immensely however, as did everyone watching from their reactions, it worked very well in this lovely little pub and was obviously a very innovative idea from the lovely Corrie loving landlord who I had the pleasure of meeting earlier in the week and who has brought this fringe theatre production to life in his pub. Bravo to the cast & a very different & enjoyable night out!

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