Anne Reid, I Love to Sing

Anne Reid, I Love to Sing

A couple of weeks back, Liam treated us both to a slice of cabaret at Norwich’s trendy Playhouse Theatre. We were front and centre for a night of song and gossip from veteran actress and national treasure, Anne Reid.

Ms Reid first electrified  the nation when she was fried by a dodgy hair dryer in Coronation Street, Britain’s longest running soap. It was 1971 and the untimely death of her character, Valerie Barlow, had 18 million viewers on the edge of their lurid orange velour sofas – about 30% of the entire UK population at the time. After taking time out to do the family thing, Ms Reid returned to the boards and popped up all over the place in film and television. Later, as a 66-year-old jobbing actress, she bedded the future 007 Daniel Craig in the 2003 film, ‘The Mother’. She received a BAFTA nomination for her performance. I would too, if I had the chance to bonk James Bond.

Anne Reid hasn’t looked back since. These days, she’s better known as Celia, the Daily Mail reading bigot with a lesbian daughter in the romantic drama ‘Last Tango in Halifax’, playing opposite old-school socialist Alan (Derek Jacobi). It’s an engrossing tale of family dysfunction with tight, fast dialogue. The show’s been an unexpected worldwide hit for the BBC.

Last Tango in Halifax

Back to the Norwich Playhouse. Thanks to Ms Reid’s touching renditions and recollections, we left the theatre on a nippy night feeling nothing but warm inside.

Vicious!

Vicious!

Vicious

Norwich life is enriched by regular soirees of beer and banter with a well-preserved couple who have been together since God was a toddler. They will remain nameless to spare their blushes. We’re the same generation and witter on endlessly about the good-old, bad-old days, the state of the nation and who will change our nappies during the bewildered years. It’s a fun and fruity gig.

Last time we met, we all fell into conversation with the pot man collecting a forest of empty glasses from our table. It turned out he was a student at the University of East Anglia working his way through a PhD in Medieval History. He was also gay, clever and quick witted. The young buck took one look at the four old codgers and quipped,

God, it’s like staring at my future. An episode of Vicious.*

Well that put us in our place. You’ve got to love the young.

*Vicious is a recent high camp, hit-and-miss TV sitcom featuring a couple of elderly theatrical types starring a couple of old thespians, Derek Jacobi and Ian McKellen.