Victoria Wood to be celebrated in ‘nostalgic’ show coming to Liverpool
The Liverpool Echo reports that Victoria Wood‘s best loved and most poignant songs will be celebrated in Looking For Me Friend when it comes to the Epstein Theatre on Saturday May 20th (tickets on sale here).
As Paul McAuley writes, “A show all about the late Victoria Wood is coming to Liverpool.
Performer Paulus, the brains behind Looking For Me Friend along with Michael Roulston, is paying homage to the comedian and actress who helped him accept his sexuality.
The 47-year-old, originally from Kent, is excited to “celebrate 21 of Victoria’s best-loved and most poignant songs” to a Scouse crowd at the Epstein Theatre.
He told the ECHO: “When Victoria died in 2016, I met up with Michael Roulston, who shares the stage with me throughout the show. He suggested Victoria’s work in the 80s and 90s, particularly for gay guys like ourselves, felt like a modern polari – a coded language used by gay men – and that people could find friends, alliances and a tribe through the comedy style of Victoria. That is indeed after all how Michael and I became friends 25 years ago.”
Victoria Wood rose to fame after appearing on the talent show New Faces but is best known for her sketch shows and the sitcom Dinnerladies. The composer had several comedy songs, one of her most famous being The Ballad of Barry and Freda, also known as Let’s Do It. Victoria secretly fought cancer after she was diagnosed with the disease four years before she tragically died from it.
Paulus hopes to keep Victoria’s legacy alive through the show.
He said: “I know for a lot of people it felt like a huge loss far too soon from an entertainer that we could have had many more years of entertainment from. For us, when we perform it’s a love letter really to a missing loved one. It’s a tremendous honour, really, to share these songs with people that loved and admired her so much.”
Writer, actor and comedian Victoria Wood (Image: Mirrorpix)
Paulus was first introduced to Victoria when he was 10 years old. During this time, Victoria was doing her sketch show which was aired on the BBC. What drew Paulus to Victoria was she would wear men’s clothes at the start of the show.
He added: “She wore blazers, leather skinny ties, men’s shirts, not blouses, trousers, and trainers or pumpers – never a heel. If she was on TV today, I think people would suggest she was in drag at times or at least androgynous but we didn’t use those words in the 80s. We just said that’s Victoria being Victoria. So I think that really had an effect on me.”
The hour-and-a-half-long show is a “night of nostalgia” where guests can expect songs from Victoria Wood sung with a Paulus twist. He said despite the lyrics being written decades ago they are still relevant today with the opening number touching on “a nasty electric bill” and “failing conservatives”.
Looking For Me Friend: The Music of Victoria Wood comes to the Epstein Theatre on Saturday, May 20. Tickets can be bought online.”
Tickets for other dates in the UK Looking For Me Friend tour can be bought here.
Paulus Invites Victoria Wood Fans to Join Him in a ‘National Two Soups Day’ Fundraiser This Week
Paulus ‘The Cabaret Geek’, the writer and performer of the current hit touring show Looking For Me Friend: The Music of Victoria Wood and an Ambassador for the charity Cabaret vs Cancer, is combining his two passions by organising his National Two Soups Day fundraiser on Thursday 20 April, which will be the seventh anniversary of Victoria Wood’s death (as reported on Broadway World, Theatre Weekly and Fairy Powered Productions).
Four years ago, Paulus held his first National Two Soups Day, an idea based on the classic sketch from Victoria Wood As Seen on TV with Julie Walters, Celia Imrie and Duncan Preston.
The idea of National Two Soups Day is to encourage people to take a photo of their soup-based breakfast, lunch or dinner, whether they have made it themselves or bought it, and enjoyed it at home or perhaps in a café, from the office microwave on sat in the work canteen. Paulus opts to make a nice fresh soup from scratch and then to lovingly re-enact Victoria’s sketch…albeit his floor does get rather messy by the end.
Paulus (BBC1’s All Together Now judge and one of the UK’s forefront entertainers and educators specialising in cabaret), is an Ambassador for Cabaret vs Cancer. This small registered charity, run by Rose Thorne, raises money through world-class cabaret and burlesque, in order to support those affected by cancer. Since 2016, the charity has been working with child bereavement teams in local hospices, to ensure they have the tools and support they need to help children who are losing or have lost a close relative. Additionally, they work with various organisations to support those currently living with cancer, from the manufacture of modern breast forms for post-mastectomy women to The Loss Foundation and many more.
Paulus said: “My hope is that those who loved Victoria and her sketches and songs will come together to take part in this annual fundraiser, remembering Victoria fondly and with a smile, whilst expanding the reach of this small but brilliant charity.”
For information about the Two Soups fundraiser (#nationaltwosoupsday or #nationaltwosoups) visit www.facebook.com/donate/1580950475731422/.
For information about Cabaret vs Cancer (registered UK Charity No. 1167819), visit www.cabaretvscancer.co.uk.
For information about Looking For Me Friend: The Music of Victoria Wood 2023 tour, visit www.lookingformefriend.com. This celebration of the music of the late comedy genius and national treasure is directed by Sarah-Louise Young, with Paulus’s regular accompanist Michael Roulston on stage, and occasional alternate pianist Tom Guest. Featuring a whistle-stop tour of 21 of Victoria Wood’s best-loved songs, it is filled with love, laughter and fabulous memories for Victoria’s fans as well as being the ultimate ‘beginner’s guide’ for audiences new to her work. The show has served up nostalgia, music and laughter at Edinburgh Fringe, sold out venues across the UK since 2020 and had the seal of approval from Victoria’s colleagues, school-chums and fans.
Looking For Me Friend extends its 2023 Tour!
Looking For Me Friend: The Music of Victoria Wood, a celebration of the music of the late comedy genius and national treasure, written and performed by Paulus, has extended its current tour to play throughout 2023.
Details of the tour extension are reported in Broadway World, Theatre Weekly, Fairy Powered Productions, WestEndTheatre.com and Stage Chat.
Confirmed 2023 tour dates are Beccles Public Hall & Theatre (13 Apr), Corn Exchange Newbury (21 Apr), Studio at New Wimbledon Theatre (11-13 May), Norman Bragg Studio, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre (18 May), Junction Goole (19 May), Epstein Theatre, Liverpool (20 May), Astor Theatre, Deal (26 May), Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells (24 June), Old Woollen, Leeds (29 June), Stockton Heath Festival (30 June), Upper Norwood Library Hub (16 July), Garden Theatre Festival, Bath (22 July), Hunters Meet, Bishop’s Stortford (6 Sept), Leiston Film Theatre (17 Sept), Lichfield Garrick Theatre (19 Sept), The Berry Theatre, Hedge End (23 Sept), Northern Stage, Newcastle (28 Sept), The Alnwick Playhouse (29 Sept), Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, Hexham (30 Sept), Pocklington Arts Centre (17 Oct), Crazy Coqs, London (22 Oct), Barnfield Theatre, Exeter (24 Oct), Chelmsford Theatre Studio (1 Nov), Sonata Piano & Cabaret Lounge, Manchester (19 Nov), Mercury Theatre, Colchester (30 Nov) and Kitchen Kabaret, Grantham (7 Dec).
All venue details on the tour extension and ticket links are listed here.
Looking For Me Friend is filled with love, laughter and fabulous memories for Victoria Wood fans as well as being the ultimate ‘beginner’s guide’ for audiences new to her work. This feel-good show has served up nostalgia, music and laughter at Edinburgh Fringe, sold out venues across the UK since 2020 and had the seal of approval from Victoria’s colleagues, school-chums and fans. Dust off your stilettos and oven glove, and don’t forget the custard creams!
“Catch it if it comes to a venue near you!”
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.”
The New Wolsey Theatre Podcast chats to Paulus
Paulus joined The New Wolsey Theatre podcast for a chat about his fabulous new show ‘Looking For Me Friend‘.
Listen to it here:
“The show, with 5 star reviews, is dedicated to legendary Victoria Wood with more than 20 of her songs from her incredible repertoire.
Paulus talks about his life long adoration for Vic, as he calls her. He never met her, although nearly did, and – well,… you can listen to the story – he tells it better than us!
Chatting from his home in London, and in the company of his cat, Paulus talks about the show in detail; what fans can expect, and how he and his colleague, have developed a perfect stage moment which captures so much of her talented songs and work….. Yes they’ll be some of her much loved characters in there.
Looking For Me Friend is no tacky copy-cat act, Paulus lets loose the show’s content through his own personality and style – and the combination of his humour and addictive delivery makes this show a stand-out – for everyone to enjoy – you definitely don’t need to know about Victoria Wood to see this show – but we guess you will know an awful lot about her, and the awesome Paulus, when it’s over!
★★★★ ‘If you are a fan of Wood, or simply feel the need for some uplifting, live entertainment, then this is a must see.’”
Thank you Paulus for a perfect 20 minutes of your time!
Book Looking For Me Friend at the New Wolsey Theatre here (7 March 2023):
See the whole tour here. (Runs across the UK till 20 May 2023)”
The music of Victoria Wood comes to Beccles
“A musical tribute to a much-loved comedian is being performed at Beccles Public Hall and Theatre in April.” reports Bruno Brown in the Eastern Daily Press. Tickets available at www.becclespublichall.co.uk.
“Looking For Me Friend: The Music of Victoria Wood is a tribute to the comedian, actress, lyricist, singer, composer, pianist, screenwriter, producer and director.
It celebrates her unforgettable characters and songs.
The show was written and will be performed by Paulus The Cabaret Geek, an entertainer who specialises in cabaret and is best known for his appearances on BBC1’s All Together Now as a talent judge.
His musical tribute to Ms Wood premièred in London in 2020.
He said: “The Music of Victoria Wood is a show filled with love, laughter, and fabulous memories for Victoria Wood fans.
“But don’t worry – those unfamiliar with the work of Vic will love the show too – it’s like a beginner’s guide to all things Victoria Wood.”
Looking For Me Friend: The Music of Victoria Wood is being performed at Beccles Public Hall and Theatre on Thursday, April 13, at 7.30PM.
Tickets are on sale now for £16.50 per person.
Tickets can be booked via www.becclespublichall.co.uk or on 01502 770060.”
Remembering Victoria on stage
“The wit and wisdom of the late lamented Victoria Wood is celebrated in a touring show, Looking For Me Friend, which has two dates in the south west as part of its 27 venue UK tour”, reports The Fine Times Recorder. Ticket links here for shows on the UK tour.
“It is performed by Paulus, otherwise known as the Cabaret Geek, and comes to The Wardrobe Theatre in Bristol on 14th February and to Salisbury Playhouse on 25th February.
Based on the music and lyrics of the great comedian and sorely missed national treasure, the show is directed by Sarah-Louise Young.
and includes a procession celebration of Wood’s unforgettable characters, songs and sketches and the power of friendships forged through laughter. From Mrs Overall to Barry and Freda, everyone is there.
There’s live accompaniment from pianist Michael Roulston*. For more information contact either of the theatres.”
* Michael Roulston is not the pianist for all of the show dates listed.
Victoria Wood’s music comes to Salisbury Art Centre
New Valley News has reported that Looking For Me Friend: The Music of Victoria Wood, writer and performer Paulus’s celebration of the music of the late comedy genius and national treasure, will play at Salisbury Arts Centre on Saturday, February 25 2023, at 7.30pm. Ticket link here for this show and other shows on the UK tour.
Written and performed by Paulus (BBC1’s All Together Now and ‘King of Cabaret’ The Stage) and directed by multi-award-winning cabaret artist Sarah-Louise Young, the show is filled with love, laughter and fabulous memories for Victoria Wood fans as well as the ultimate ‘beginner’s guide’ for audiences new to her work.
Many of Victoria’s best-loved songs through the decades are featured in the nostalgic evening of entertainment, including ‘It Would Never Have Worked’, ‘Reincarnation’ and, of course, the classic ‘Ballad of Barry & Freda (Let’s Do It)’, as well as some of her lesser-known and more poignant compositions.
The highly acclaimed Musical Director Michael Roulston* joins Paulus on stage, proving what many have known for decades: that it takes two men to do the work of one woman – half as well!
* Michael Roulston is not the pianist for all of the show dates listed.
Cabaret star Paulus celebrates the music of Victoria Wood
Bristol 24/7 reports on Paulus’ forthcoming Looking For Me Friend show at the Wardrobe Theatre in Bristol on February 14th. Click here for the ticket link to this show and other dates on the UK tour.
As Sarski Anderson writes, “Paulus, otherwise known as ‘The Cabaret Geek’, has long been a powerhouse in the London cabaret scene, finally coming to mainstream in the BBC One show All Together Now.
His nostalgia-filled music tribute to the much-missed comedian Victoria Wood premiered in London in 2020. It has now evolved into the touring show Looking For Me Friend: The Music of Victoria Wood, which comes to The Wardrobe Theatre on February 14.
Paulus is joined on stage by acclaimed musical director, Michael Roulston, and multi-award-winning cabaret artist Sarah-Louise Young directs.
For Wood fans, there is a huge amount to look forward to – with many of her best-loved songs through the decades peppered through the evening, including It Would Never Have Worked and the Ballad of Barry & Freda (Let’s Do It), as well as lesser-known works.
And for those new to the style of musical comedy that Wood made famous, the show serves as the ultimate introduction.
Paulus himself has been a devotee since childhood. “I think I was 10 years old when I first saw Victoria on television,” he recalls. So what exactly was it that drew him to her?
“In the 80s, Victoria’s look on television was very androgynous. She chose to wear jeans, men’s shirts, men’s blazers, and she had spikey hair like myself. I thought it was just tremendous to see someone on television who was playing their own game, especially on a channel like the BBC in a time when for me being different – being other – was hard.
“I think Victoria has always spoken to outliers somehow. She seemed to be more interested in celebrating the elasticated waist than the new skinny celebrity that had just hit our airwaves – what would now be our social media – and I just think she tuned in really well to the things that most of us worry about and experience on a daily basis: tea bags, oven gloves, or digging fluff out of the tumble dryer.
“Life is full of tiny little annoyances, but also tiny little miracles. I think Victoria knew how to find that joy and share it with other people.
“When I’m doing the show, I look to diminish any barrier between myself and the audience who are all not after all there to see me, but because they love Victoria. If Michael and I can share that love and celebrate her with them, keeping ourselves out of the equation almost, then hopefully we have done our job properly.”
Celebrating the works of Victoria Wood
Cambrian News reports that the Aberystwyth Arts Centre is looking forward to welcoming Paulus and the music of Victoria Wood on Tuesday 7th February. Ticket link and show details here.
As the Entertainment Editor reports, Looking For Me Friend: The Music of Victoria Wood, is a funny and touching tribute to the much-loved and sorely missed national treasure.
Written and performed by BBC One’s All Together Now star, Paulus, this new show sees him in a fresh light as a lifelong fan and devotee of the Queen of Comedy.
Celebrate her unforgettable characters, songs and sketches and the power of friendships forged through laughter. From Mrs Overall to Barry & Freda, everyone is there. The only thing that’s missing is you.
The show is filled with love, laughter and fabulous memories for Victoria Wood fans as well as the ultimate ‘beginner’s guide’ for audiences new to her work.
Many of Victoria’s best-loved songs through the decades are featured in the nostalgic evening of entertainment including It Would Never Have Worked, Reincarnation and, of course, the classic Ballad of Barry & Freda (Let’s Do It), as well as some of her lesser-known and more poignant compositions.
The show has been directed by Sarah-Louise Young (An Evening Without Kate Bush), and Michael Roulston (Fascinating Aida) joins Paulus on the piano.
Looking For Me Friend: The Music of Victoria Wood is on at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on Tuesday 7th February at 7.30pm.