CORRIE! AT THE MAYFLOWER

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Titchfield schoolchildren get stuck in to new equipment provided by Fareham College pupils

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We know that hair nets, wonky ducks and pavement punch-ups make for great TV drama.

And now the iconic images and scenes of Britain’s longest running telly soap are pulling in theatre audiences too.

Corrie! is a celebration of the nation’s best soap – and I say this knowing full well Eastenders regularly tops the viewers’ choice in awards ceremonies.

But could Coronation Steet’s rival spawn a tribute show that spouts quotes so memorable the audience is virtually saying them with the actors?

‘She sat up, broke wind and died’ (Ena Sharples on her mother’s demise) and ‘You’re Norman Bates with a briefcase’ (Gail to serial killer hubby Richard) are just two of the classic lines trotted out in this 50th anniversary tribute.

Six actors pull off the stunning feat of playing almost 60 Corrie characters and recreating memorable scenes. Roy Barraclough (Alec Gilroy to me and you) is the narrator of this show which represents the Carla-Liam-Maria-Tony love tangle and subsequent murder in the form of a ballet.

Other scenes are played straight or with traditional Corrie humour – and some! It pokes fun at our favourite storylines but with affection.

Fifty years of fast-paced soap opera is crammed into one evening. So Deirdre’s locked-up, Sarah Lou’s knocked-up and Peter Barlow has cocked up (again!) in the space of a couple of hours.

The actors’ excellent portrayals include hair-netted battleaxe Ena and Hilda (with her flying ducks ‘muriel’ as backdrop). A special mention should go to Peter Temple’s Audrey, Bet and Roy (now there’s a performer with range) and Leanne Best’s Gail.

All that’s needed now is a Corrie! 2 complete with complimentary hot-pots for every audience member.

Until Saturday.

RACHEL JONES

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