Musical Theatre Review saw the Paulus’ tribute to Victoria Wood tribute at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and wrote this glowing 4-star review. Tickets for the Edinburgh show and forthcoming UK tour available here.
‘In many ways, Victoria Wood was an old-fashioned act, even in her own time: piano, cheeky lyrics and an engaging smile – a winning formula for decades. Paulus and his musical director, Michael Roulston, are proof positive of Victoria’s assertion that it takes two men to do the job of one woman – and, as Paulus jokes, “half as well”.
Never having seen Wood live, this cabaret set is more honestly evocative than any impersonator could manage. There are many who still adore Wood – Paulus has found that there are around 18,000 people spread across four Facebook groups. This audience is predominantly ‘of a certain age’ and are truly appreciative of this nostalgic appreciation.
Aside from her musical repartee, Wood had such a facility with language – she was very precise and particular in her descriptive vocabulary and in a segment of spoken word, Paulus and Roulston give examples of her art, Paulus in a broad Lancastrian accent and Michael ‘translating’ into ‘the queen’s English’, complete with supercilious tone. This is very comical and has the potential to be developed, perhaps along the lines of Stanley Baxter’s ‘Parliamo Glasgow’.
The hour flies by and as the show draws to a close, Paulus revisits the preconception of who Wood was and what she used her fame to promote: the Lancashire voice in a time when cut glass accents were still the voice of broadcasting; writing roles for gay men who are genuine characters rather than comedic failures; casting people who were ‘normal’ shapes and sizes and, of course, writing comedy for women. Rather cunning for such a seemingly conventional artist.
Cleverly crafted, affectionate and well-observed, this is a celebration of Victoria Wood that will appeal to those who adore her and those who’ve never heard of her. The finale number is truly brilliant and the audience leaves smiling.’