Acorn Antiques – Coming to Sheffield

William J Connolly
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Croft House Theatre Company will present a hilarious re-imagination of Victoria Wood’s famous television show and now hit musical comedy: Acorn Antiques – The Musical.

Arriving at the Sheffield Lyceum Theatre next week, March 19th – 23rd, a musical version of Acorn Antiques follows the lives of sisters Miss Babs and Miss Berta, struggling to keep their antiques business open, as shop after shop on the High Street closes down. A devious third sister Miss Bonnie plans to sell the shop to ‘The Guilty Bean’, the world’s second biggest chain of coffee shops.

This all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza is led by Sheffield residents Kate Parkin, Louise Walker and Fiona Hannon, familiar faces of local theatre group Croft House Theatre Company.

With family secrets, life-changing acting and high-spirited musical numbers, can they still employ Mrs Overall? Will Mr Clifford ever get his memory back, and remember who he’s engaged to? And most worrying of all, will Mrs Overall be able to tap dance whilst holding the tray?

Celia Imrie, who originated the role of Miss Babs in both the television show and West End production of Acorn Antiques, has sent her regards and good luck vibes to Sheffield actress Kate Parkin in a personal letter, writing: “Thinking of you all the way, Kate. Hey, hey, you’re on your way. From the other Miss B, with love.”

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Parkin, who received her letter during a recent rehearsal from fellow cast member Louise Walker, is still shocked and deeply touched by her message from Imrie: “Miss Babs is Celia’s part, she originated it, so to get her blessing as I step into these enormous shoes next is for me, the biggest of blessings. I just hope I do her justice and bring a bit of Kate to the part.”

The show received critical acclaim during its run at the Haymarket Theatre in London with Julie Walters once again starring as Mrs Overall, and now this legendary local amateur theatre company have the opportunity to show the city the very best of its talent. The show also follows Manchesterford’s only gay couple Derek and Mr Watkins, played by Ian Bell and Steve Pashley. With all the shops on the high street changing, can their love survive?

Director Mark Harris, a fan of Victoria Wood’s writing, is sure that audiences will love the stage version of Acorn Antiques next week: ”It’s so different from the TV show yet so alike that I find it hard to explain to people how it works. Its characters that we all know and love mixed with songs, new characters and hilarious and witty lyrics written by Victoria herself; it really is as bonkers and hilarious as it sounds.”

The musical also introduces audiences to new characters from the television show including the local shop owners and their wonderful and wild shops, browsers, the street’s local gay couple with matching cardigans, but also remembers the TV show’s best and most loved character in Mrs Overall, portrayed originally by Julie Walters and now by Sheffield local, Helen Kempton.

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Knowing what an iconic piece of writing Mrs Overall is, Helen knew as a big fan of Victoria Wood that she just had to audition: ”I watched Acorn Antiques for years. I remember being amazed at how Julie Walters had me in fits of laugher just by walking into a scene on TV. When Croft announced they were performing the show, the opportunity to play such an icon giant of British comedy came along I just couldn’t say no. I’m still as shocked today as I was back in September when I first got the part; it really is a dream come true.”

However, the added pressure of playing such an iconic part hasn’t got Helen beat just yet: ”Knowing that I will be performing a role that anyone that comes to see Acorn Antiques knows so well is unnerving but also excited. It’s not often you get to play a part written by Victoria Wood, played originally by Julie Walters and on the Lyceum Theatre stage. March 19th will be a very special day for me.”

With wonky sets, missed cues and hilarious mistakes, can the sisters prevent their new sibling from closing the family business and opening a new chain of coffee shops in its place? Will Miss Berta help Clifford remember any of his past and will Mrs O. make it on stage on time and maybe with a cheeky macaroon or two?

Join this incredibly talented cast next week, March 19th-23rd for an evening of pure hilarious delights.

Acorn Antiques is presented by Croft House Theatre Company, Directed by Mark Harris, and Choreographed by Sally Wragg with Musical Direction by Andy Booth.

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Tickets are available on 0114 249 6000 or online at

About William J Connolly

Theatre journalist | Ex: The Times Newspaper, London 2012 (PR) and Marketing Manager for CHTC (Sheffield Lyceum). Twitter: @WJConnolly

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