The critics hated it but the public loved this show, which sold out during its 16-week stay at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket.
But this is a completely revamped version which Victoria Wood brings to the Quays Theatre. The opening preamble with the director, and indeed his role, have disappeared altogether and it starts with the mock Chicago routine heavily featuring luminous rubber gloves.
This whole show is a pastiche on television soaps and musicals. Twenty-one years ago Acorn Antiques purported to mock Crossroads but paper-thin plots have never stopped a musical from being a success in the past. Wood has cleverly disguised the flaws with a musical salute to composers like Sondheim, Lloyd-Webber and Kander and Ebb culminating in the glittering finale from Chorus Line.
There are claims that Manchester is getting the second division team as neither Walters nor Wood appear, although the playwright did take a bow at the end. Sara Crowe makes a brave attempt at Miss Babs and Ria Jones did her best as Mrs Overall but the audience would have preferred the originals. It was warmly received but in spite of the northern connections, there was no standing ovation.
This show sits well in this intimate auditorium but it’s only there for four weeks before it transfers to the larger Lyric Theatre which seats 1,750. However, the Lowry is so convinced that business will be good that it’s extended the run by an extra week.