REVIEW: A little too much all on one plate

Cast of Dinnerladies at the Grand Theatre
Cast of Dinnerladies at the Grand Theatre

Dinnerladies Blackpool Grand

THE audience was a bit thin on the ground as Victoria Wood’s Dinnerladies dished up a second helping at The Grand.

The tale picked up just days where the show left off in May 2009, in the much-loved episode when Bren and Tony finally declare their feelings after eight years.

But, unlike the previous offering which, has two neat episodes, some diehard Dinnerladies lovers were irked by a first half, which crammed the best bits of a series into an hour long piece.

A helping which contained a pregnancy scare, an illicit affair between a pensioner and petulant teenager, a one-women protest, a New Year’s Eve party, merger threats, and even an abandoned baby.

This combination created a bit of a sketchy plot whirlwind.

In the fast-moving action, the magic of the comedy was diluted, emotion was diminished and some much-loved lines were thrown away altogether.

There were strong performances which pulled the show together for the second half.

Sue Devaney was a flamboyant, flatulent and gloriously away with the fairies Petula.

A much slimmed-down Laura Shepherd faithfully created Bren in Victoria Wood’s mirror image, and she was matched by Andrew Dunn’s ever-lovable Tony.

The second section saw a return to the cast performing one episode and, the gentler pace allowed the script to flow more smoothly.

A TV screen was used to show Bren’s quiz show debut and Petula’s well-meaning will, and long time fan or not, you couldn’t help but be sucked in by the happy ending.

The show continues until Saturday.