West End performers bring ‘black humour’ to Ilford theatre
PUBLISHED: 15:53 13 September 2016 | UPDATED: 17:13 13 September 2016
A musical comedy featuring three sisters, who were simultaneously widowed after a double-decker bus crash tragically wiped out the village’s dart team, is opening in Ilford tonight.
Award winning show Boorskale, named after the fictional Derby village in which it is based, brings a show “full of dark humour” to the borough.
It centres on the lives of Vi, Flo and Mary, the Darrington sisters and their neighbour Nellie, who are adjusting to their septuagenarian lives, and are worried they may have to enter an old people’s home.
Paul Ritchie Tomkinson, who wrote the play and plays eldest sister Mary, described it as a show that is “good fun, but it will also make you cry.”
Speaking after rehearsals last week, he said: “It’s very pertinent.
“Everyone has a Vi, a Flo or a Mary, a grandmother, an aunt or a great aunt in their life.
“They just say what they think, they don’t give a damn, and don’t always leave their home much.
“The show is full of farcical behaviour and dark humour, but a lot of it is rooted in reality.
“My granny, when I was younger, had an assist chair to help her up.
“It had a lever at the side, which you pushed to control, but unfortunately her bottom spread over it.
“Well with nothing pushing it, she was launched into the piano! The family dined out on that tale for months.
“We have something very similar in the play, although unfortunately there’s no piano, or Patrick would be getting thrown in to it every night.
“It’s fine for someone else to do that. When it’s not you being launched, it’s fine.”
The show, which will run until September 24 at the Kenneth More Theatre, in Oakfield Road, Ilford, is accompanied by a live orchestra every night.
Mark Hutchinson, who plays Vi, the middle sister “with a kind soul and memory problems”, described the set up as “terrific.”
He said: “It’s honestly incredible.
“I want to buy an album of the songs and listen to it over and over again, it’s so beautiful.
“It’s very acoustic, and unusual to have strings in a live performance, but it really is incredible.”
The music, which originally only featured piano when the show was first performed in 1993, was created by musical director, and theatre manager, Steven Day.
Paul, who was awarded the Vivian Ellis Prize for Best New Musical for the show, said it was very emotional for him to hear the tunes.
He said: “I hadn’t heard the songs for quite a while, and never with piano.
“A year after the show was produced, my parents became ill and I needed to be able to travel to Derbyshire, to look after them.
“I started teaching dance to gymnasts, which I did for over 20 years, and now I’ve returned to the musical.
“I hadn’t heard the music in so long, and I cried my eyes out hearing it again.
“Steven has done a wonderful job.”
Patrick Clancy, who plays Flo, the youngest sister at a sprightly 70 years old, said the glue behind the show was the real friendship.
He said: “We have all known each other for years, more than 20.
“I first met Paul 25 years ago at the London Palladium.
“You always become a family when performing, you have to really, but we are all very close in real life, it’s fun.”
In the show, neighbour Nellie, played by David Alder, is a point of contention for the sisters.
David said: “They’re not fond of her, at all!
“She’s very bitter. I have lemons for breakfast and keep my face like that for the whole day.
“It’s fun playing someone sour and bitter, it’s a bit more meaty.”
Performances will run at 7.30pm from Tuesdays to Saturdays, with Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees taking place at 2.30pm.
Tickets range from £12 to £18. Call 020 8553 4466 to book.
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