Copyright © Wickersley Operatic Society, 2003.

 
Rotherham Advertiser 22 February 2008

A BRIEF round-up of the Spend, Spend, Spend story does not fill you with hopes of a colourful, uplifting musical.

Set in the West Yorkshire town of Castleford, it chronicles the real life drama of Viv Nicholson, her rise to fame after vowing to "spend, spend, spend" a £152,000 pools win, and her fall from grace after blowing the lot, losing husband Keith in a tragic car crash and suffering the physical and emotional trials of three doomed marriages.

The musical, however, based on Viv's book of the same name, manages to capture the tale with a poignancy and good humour which allows an audience to enjoy the most exciting period in the life of one of Yorkshire's most colourful characters.

At least at the hands of the very capable Wickersley Operatic Society it does.

Running at Rotherham's Civic Theatre until tomorrow, the company's accomplished performances, live musical accompaniment and impressive sets have captured the spirit of the story.

Up front for much of the night, Amy Vickers, playing young Viv, steals the show with strong, consistent singing and emotional investment in the role.

An on stage chemistry with Scott Johnson—who plays the love of Viv's life, second husband Keith—highlights the story's main theme, that of a couple isolated by the effects of their big win.

The couple move to Garforth to escape the jealousy of neighbours before tiring of middle-class sniping and taking an ill-fated trip to New York, all the while gambling, drinking and spend, spend, spending their way into bankruptcy.

Choreographed dance routines and a packed stage characterise this lively and bustling production, which portrays the couple's lavish and excessive lifestyle.

But act two brings the turning point in Viv's life.

Driving back from Wetherby races, Keith is killed in an accident at the wheel of his Jaguar. The heartbreak and self-doubt triggered by her loss is played with deep emotion by Amy, and news of the bank's seizure of all Viv's assets brings the musical to its gripping climax.
Rattling through three marriages that saw Viv desperately searching for love after Keith—an episode which saw her suffer both grief and physical abuse—the play arrives at a time where the mum-of-three is able to reflect on life with great candour, something she is still able to do today.

The playing and enthusiastic dance sequences characterise Spend, Spend, Spend, and the accomplished manner in which WOS brought it to the Rotherham stage has captured Viv's spirit perfectly.

Simon Kelly, playing Viv's dad, Simon, and the crisp vocals of narrator Rachel Marshall, playing the modern day Viv, helped to highlight the musical's inherent Yorkshire character.

I hope Viv agrees...when she takes her seat for tomorrow night's performance.

Tom Sharpe
Rotherham Advertiser Reporter

 


 

Tel: 0114 2877289  E-Mail: webmaster@wickersleyoperatics.com