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Opera House, Manchester, Quay St, Manchester, M3 3HP, 020 7316 4709 or 0161 834 1792

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      20.10.2001 04:33
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      If you are feeling a little bit of deja vue- I originally wrote an op on this show when it was in London. Now the musical is on tour so now seemed like as good a time as any to spend some more time telling people how good it is. Many people see the big budget muscials because it's like opening a box of expensive chocolates - it feels like a real treat. Spend Spend Spend is a small show with a big heart and it is for this very reason that I have been raving about it for the past 18 months. WHAT'S THE PLOT? ---------------- Spend Spend Spend is a musical set in 1961. Yorkshire housewife Viv Nicholson won a fortune on the pools- her life changed completely. But the money did not bring Viv happiness, it changed her life but as the title suggests - the money was spent immediately! The musical explores the adulation that Viv receives because of her new found wealth but also looks at how money cannot buy you love or happiness. The story is ever relevant with newspapers full of stories about lottery winners arguing with families over the winnings or blowing the winnings in record time. TOUR TOUR TOUR -------------- Spend Spend Spend is currently on a regional tour. It struggled in the West End to compete with The Lion King and the endless conveyor belt of Lloyd Webber musicals by numbers. This is a real shame because Spend has the power to move the audience beyond belief. Barbara Dickson fought to get the musical tour on the road. So far the tour has been a success but many people have not heard of the show because it has not got a weighty name like Cameron Mackintosh or LIoyd Webber behind it. But the one thing the show has got is great word of mouth. LEAD ROLE --------- Barbara Dickson plays the older Viv Nicholson, the happy-go-lucky Liverpudlian who won the pools only to find that the wealth lead her on the road to drink, heartache and unhappiness. HEARTACHE AND COMEDY ----------
      ---------- This unflinching tale contains funny lines a plenty but each has a melancholic aftertaste that Lloyd Webber and Disney can only dream of. Barbara Dickson is a revelation as is her young co-star- Rachel Leskovac, each of them displaying Viv's wit and sheer grit and determination in equal measures. I defy anyone not to feel moved beyond belief when the two perform a storming duet. PERFORMANCES ------------ The main reason for seeing Spend are the performances. Dickson and Leskovac really do have the power to make you feel like you are walking on air as you leave the theatre. These two dazzling actresses give the show 100% and when I went to see the show they deservedly received a standing ovation. SING SING SING -------------- The songs are memorable but not as repetitious as most. You will leave the theatre knowing that you have watched something fresh and new rather than tired lyrics which repeat the chorus every two seconds. Sometimes the lyrics seem a bit on the naff side but the powerful vocals paper over any lyrical shortcomings. HAS IT GOT THE LOOK? -------------------- The set is minimal, although a "Generation Game " style conveyor belt carrying all the things Viv bought after her big win is very effective and raises a chuckle and a tear at the same time. As the expensive gifts whizz past you, you realise that they ended up in the hands of the bailiffs! FORGET ABOUT ABBA SONGS AND PHANTOMS ------------------------------------ If you are thinking of seeing a musical, don't go for the obvious choices - spend your money on this gem and I can guarantee you won't be asking for your money back. With so many great shows on tour at the minute you may let this one pass you by like Viv's items on the conveyor belt- but you will be sorry if you do. Even if musicals are not your thing, Spend Spend Spend has such a strong storyli
      ne that you will forget that it is a musical. Musical lovers who go for down to earth material like Blood Brothers will love this as Spend is the closest you will get to Willy Russell's true grit and wit. END OF REVIEW- (facts about the play below and where to book) AWARDS ------ Spend Spend Spend won Oliver awards and was loved by critics. But it stuggled to find an audience in London. Hopefully, the show will get the audience it deserves on this tour. WANNA TICKET? ------------- Want see if this excellent musical is on near you? - check out: www.barbaradickson.com or www.ticketmaster.co.uk IN MANCHESTER NOW! ------------------ Spend Spend Spend is on at the Manchester Opera House from Tues 27th November for three weeks. TEL: 0161 834 1792/08700 106090

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