Share |

Birds of a Feather @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

Published by: Yvonne Delahaye on 15th May 2013 | View all blogs by Yvonne Delahaye

001.jpg
Many years ago when Birds of a Feather was regularly on our TV screens, I had the pleasure of working with Lesley Joseph in a corporate video for a well-known travel company.  I was amused to see that in real life Lesley still had her trademark long, red talons and I remarked how difficult it must be to carry out every day tasks, but she assured me she could and that you just got used to it.  Lesley, of course, played the nymphomaniac Dorien Green in Birds of a Feather and it was good to see her on stage, looking as fit, youthful and glamorous as ever.  How she manages to run around the stage in those impossibly high heels is beyond me, as I don't think I'd manage more than a few steps!
 
Birds of a Feather ran for almost 10 years until 1998. Set in Chigwell, it chronicled the misadventures of Sharon Theodopolopoudos and Tracey Stubbs (Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson) and their man-eating neighbour, Dorien Green (Lesley Joseph).

006-150x150.jpg
Pauline Quirke will most recently be remembered as Hazel Rhodes in ITV1’s Emmerdale, she is also well known for her portrayal of Olive Martin in the award winning drama The Sculptress, Down to Earth, Cold Blood and Missing. In 2008 Pauline Quirke celebrated 40 years in the entertainment business and launched the hugely successful Pauline Quirke Academy of Performing Arts, with over 30 academies across the United Kingdom. They bring everything that Pauline has learned and loved about the industry to a whole new generation. Since the last tour of Birds of a Feather, Pauline has just been seen in ITV drama series Broadchurch starring alongside David Tennant.

007-150x150.jpg
Linda Robson rose to prominence in Shine On Harvey Moon and also appeared in Harry’s Game and Play ForToday amongst others before starring as Tracey in Birds Of A Feather for nine years.  Subsequent TV included Jobs For The Girls, Grumpy Old Women and The Bill and feature films have included Anuvahood and Outside Bet.  Linda’ theatre work includes Grumpy Old Women, A Passionate Woman, The Food Chain and Telstar in London’s West End and not forgetting her dip into the jungle in “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here…” at the end of 2012.
008-150x150.jpg
Lesley Joseph has recently been touring in the hugely-successful Calendar Girls and her vast array of other theatre work includes Sir Peter Hall’s production of Home, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Piaf, The Miser, Annie, Hot Flush, Office Suite and a successful one-woman show, Singular Women.  Lesley’s TV work includes the ITV soap Night And Day for two years as well as a host of other shows for all the major channels and a plethora of light entertainment shows including a regular spot on This Morning, Wish You Were Here, Stars in Their Eyes and Celebrity Come Dine with Me.

For a TV sitcom to run for 10 years you know it must have been something very special. At the centre of every episode was the great friendship, warmth and affection between the 3 ladies and this still beams out across the auditorium.  You immediately feel relaxed and at home with these people that we see as friends, instantly getting involved in their lives and wanting to catch up on the last 15 years. 
010-150x150.jpg
As soon as the curtain goes up, we’re introduced to Tracey’s 16 year-old son Travis (played by Pauline’s real life son Charlie Quirke) and discover how he’s been totally mollycoddled by his mum.  As Sharon arrives carrying her Lidl shopping bags into Tracey’s luxury home, we know how little their lives have really changed.  The laughs just keep on coming when they go to visit Dorien in a home for the ‘well-off’ and the mayhem ensues.

I absolutely loved the show.  It’s brilliantly written by Gary Lawson and John Phelps and is very fast and very funny, as gag after gag just keep the audience in stitches.  It’s also bang up-to-date with references to the Cyprus crisis and Facebook, keeping the characters and situations fresh and relevant to today.

The set is very cleverly designed by Andrew D Edwards and I also enjoyed the video clips in the scene changes and the residents dancing around to move props was inspired.  Simon James Green does an excellent job directing the show and he is also the Creative Director of The Pauline Quirke Academy of Performing Arts.  The show is produced by The Comedy Theatre Company, producers of the highly successful tour of Victoria Wood’s dinnerladies and Keeping Up Appearances.

If you enjoyed watching the TV series over the years, then you really shouldn’t miss out on seeing these lovely ladies live on stage, as their warmth, laughter and friendship fills the packed theatre.  I suspect this will tour for as long as the ladies would like to keep going and they all looked to be really enjoying themselves, which helped us to enjoy ourselves too.

Tickets are on sale now. Visit Aylesbury Waterside Theatre Box Office, call 0844 871 7607 (bkg fee), or book online at www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury (bkg fee).

LISTINGS
Performances:   Tue 14 – Sat 18 May
Tue – Sat Evenings 7.30pm, Matinees Thu & Sat 2.30pm
Tickets:   £10 - £26 (Premium seats also available) 
Box Office:   0844 871 7607 (bkg fee)
Groups Hotline:  0844 871 7614
Access Booking: 0844 871 7677 (bkg fee)
Online Booking: www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury (bkg fee)

Next tour dates are, but full tour information can be found at www.birdsontour.com

May 21 - May 25 SOUTHAMPTON, Mayflower
Mats: Thu/Sat: 2.00. Eves: 7.30  
May 28 - Jun 01 NEWCASTLE, Theatre Royal
Mats: Thu/Sat: 2.00. Eves: 7.30  
Jun 18 - Jun 22 BROMLEY, Churchill Theatre
Mats: Thu/Sat: 2.30. Eves: 7.30  
Jun 25 - Jun 29 YORK, The Grand Opera House
Mats: Wed/Sat: 2.30. Eves: 7.30  

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye
14/5/13

Comments

1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 5 years ago
    Thanks, Yvonne. This production has rightfully been gathering plaudits from across the UK.
Please login or sign up to post on this network.
Click here to sign up now.