Suzanne Hawkes of the British Theatre Guide saw Looking For Me Friend at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich on March 7th and posted this review:
“Victoria Wood, much loved comedienne, writer and entertainer, got her big break on the TV talent show New Faces in 1974 which led to an incredible career that lasted until her early death from cancer in 2016.
On the way, she gathered a huge following of fans who have kept her memory alive—and Looking For Me Friend is a tribute from one of the most dedicated of those fans.
Paulus (aka Paul Martin ) has had a 30-year career in show business himself in a variety of genres, coming to prominence in 1999 as drag act Trinity Million and going on to a career on stage and TV, but he is very famous on the cabaret circuit, especially in London, and as presenter of TVs All Together Now.
He attributes his love of show business to discovering the genius of Victoria Wood when he was only 10 years of age though her TV performances, and so this show is as much the story of his journey as it is a journey through the music of Wood herself.
Joined on stage by his long-term friend and collaborator musician Michael Roulston, this show is not Paulus trying to be Victoria Wood (apart from a very small skit at the opening of the second half). This is more his tribute to her through the interpretation of some of her most famous songs such as “It Would Never Have Worked”, “Reincarnation” and “Political Correctness gone Mad”, and some more poignant ones including two written especially for her friend and fellow acting partner Julie Walters, and one of the few she wrote from a man’s perspective as a husband makes breakfast for his wife only to realise he said goodbye to her the day before in hospital.
Paulus is an engaging entertainer and obviously loves both Victoria Wood and her work, and that love comes across in his performance of the songs which are crisp and clear with a glittery spin. There is a little bit of banter between him and his pianist and some anecdotes from his early life growing up in Kent and his first steps into the entertainment industry, but on the whole, this is an evening showcasing Victoria Wood’s talent as a writer of comic songs that serves to remind you what a talent she was and in some ways to want to go back to finding old YouTube videos of her performing them herself.
An entertaining evening that the New Wolsey audience lapped up, finishing with probably her most favourite song, “The Ballad of Freda & Barry (Let’s Do It)”, all eight glorious minutes of it!
The show is on a nationwide tour, so catch it if it comes to a venue near you.”