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Just spend, spend, spend on a ticket

PUBLISHED: 15:45 23 May 2001 | UPDATED: 15:05 22 October 2010

Spend, Spend, Spend @ Theatre Royal, Norwich

Spend, Spend, Spend @ Theatre Royal, Norwich

By JOHN LAWSON

Showered with Evening Standard, Olivier and Variety Club awards, you don't really need me to tell you that Spend, Spend, Spend is one of the classiest musicals to grace the stage for many a long year.

The story of the spectacular rise and even more crashing fall of Sixties pools winner Viv Nicholson, who blew a £152,000 fortune, is a bittersweet mix of fun and poignancy.

Barbara Dickson, among the glitterati of British musical theatre for three decades, and stunning newcomer Rachel Leskovac, for whom the show's London run marked her West End debut, shared the role of Viv – the idealistic teenager desperately seeking happiness and the battle-scarred middle-aged woman who tells her story in flashback.

Dickson remains at the height of her charismatic powers, able to control the audience with the smallest gesture, but she is matched all the way by Leskovac, whose exuberance, comic timing and rich characterisation of emotion from joy to despair simply light up the stage. And she could match her alter ego in delivering a song too.

Providing great support were Nigel Williams as Viv's father George and Grant Anthony as her tragic husband.

Praise too for a great set which in turn spoke grime and deprivation and nouveau riche gaudiness.

t It's at the Theatre Royal until June 2 – you'd be mad to miss it. Box office: 01603 630000.


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