After weeks of anticipation, the stage adaptation of the United Kingdom’s longest running television soap opera, Coronation Street, played out to eight Sheffield audiences, and a fantastically warm reception.

Corrie!, fronted and narrated by former Coronation Street actress Gaynor Faye, ran from Monday 7th to Saturday 12th March, at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield, with each viewing playing to a near capacity audience. Primarily focusing on the Platt and Barlow families, the satirical comedy featured some of the soap’s finest moments in its illustrious 50 year history.

Narrator, Gaynor Faye

Despite featuring over 50 much loved characters from the soap, it took just six actors and actresses to put on the performance – Leanne Best, Simon Chadwick, Daniel Crowder, Jo Mousley, Peter Temple and Lucy Thackeray – who provided some of the best entertainment I have seen in years.

I was initially slightly sceptical about how the production was going to be, but from the moment Gaynor Faye walked onto the stage, my worries had vanished, with her role as narrator being portrayed effortlessly and comfortably. With so many memorable and hilarious scenes from the soap, I found it hard to believe that these six actors and actresses would be able to convey the emotion and comical style that so many of the ITV soap’s actors do.

The show began with a brief look at some of the programme’s famous scenes from the 1960s, with characters such as Ena Sharples and a young Ken Barlow featuring heavily, the latter being portrayed superbly by Simon Chadwick. Indeed, when paired with on-screen wife Deirdre, played by Jo Mousley, the chemistry seen between the actors was just as top notch as that of Coronation Street stars William Roache and Anne Kirkbride.

The crowd reaction throughout was fantastic, however it was when we were treated to more memories from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s that the laughter and cheering became more regular. Alan Bradley’s demise at the hands of a Blackpool tram brought fits of laughter and clapping from the audience, as a large fabric tram made its way across the stage, sweeping Bradley aside.

The frequent return to the highs and (mainly) lows of Gail Potter/Tilsley/Platt/Hillman/McIntyre’s love life was visited throughout the production to fits of laughter from the audience. “This one’s the one; I can feel it in my waters!” Leanne Best would claim, getting the impersonation of Gail down to a tee. The infamous fight scene between Gail and Eileen Grimshaw also made an appearance, following Todd’s decision to go publicly gay back in 2004. When portrayed on stage, this seemed even funnier than when originally on television, and I found myself in hysterics during the whole scene!

Other highlights of the show included fantastic impersonations of Jack and Vera Duckworth, the body language of Steve McDonald that was met with rapturous applause from the audience and some comical, memorable moments from Roy and Hayley Cropper.  The only things that the show lacked were, surprisingly, the now infamous scene with the Barlows at Peter’s alcoholic meeting and the inclusion of Kevin and Sally Webster. Particularly during the past few years, Sally Dyvenor, who plays Sally Webster, has provided some marvellous moments in the soap, so it was a shame to see she had been excluded from the cast.

Corrie! is definitely a must-see for all fans of Coronation Street, and for those wanting to see the production in Nottingham, Birmingham, Cardiff or any of the other venues it will be touring over the next few months, I would highly recommend it. The production sums up the finest moments from the quality drama serial, and commemorates the soap’s 50th anniversary wonderfully.

This review is based on the 3.00pm showing on Saturday, 12th March, 2011 at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield.

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