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Funny Faces: Lichfield Review

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by Tony Collins (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer specialising mainly in health and education and living in Staffordshire. Find me on Linked In
Event:
Audiences reunited with film legends Sid James & Joan Sims
The souls of comedy screen legends Sid James and Joan Sims are laid bare in this fabulous, funny and poignant play based on their lives and careers. You can easily believe that Sid and Joan are actually on stage in front of you, such is the passion and pathos that actors Caroline Nash and Steve Dimmer each bring to their role. This exceptional double bill of one-act plays, both beautifully written by Steve, has been produced by theatre company Next Page Productions, who brought Funny Faces to the Lichfield Garrick theatre on October 18. Caroline, who created and manages Next Page Productions, opened the evening's entertainment by taking a nostalgic trip down memory lane in 'SIMply Joan'.

Funny Faces
Funny Faces consists of two one-act plays on Sid James and Joan Sims


Seemingly set in a theatre props rooms, 'Joan' takes a break from an end of season wrap party to reflect on both her professional work and the heartache in her life. And it certainly pulls no punches as she talks openly about her past struggles with alcohol, the falling out with her parents due to 'living in sin' with her boyfriend, and the sad recollections of Joan's "dearest friend" and Carry On co-star, Hattie Jacques. But amidst the sadness there is also plenty of humour as she recalls working with the likes of Kenneth Williams and Charles Hawtrey on the hugely successful Carry On films, which began back in 1958. Although RADA-trained, 'Joan' says she was frequently turned down for serious acting roles because of her "happy face", although one of the excerpts she delivers during 'SIMply Joan' is when she played the part of a serial baby killer. Joan, whose big break was in Carry On Nurse, went on to make 24 films prior to her death in 2001 at the age of 71.

Lichfield Garrick
The Lichfield Garrick theatre


Wot Sid Did', which followed after the interval, sees Steve Dimmer taking on the role of Sid James in his dressing room in the hour before his final performance. Sid was to fall ill shortly after the start of his show in Sunderland in 1976, and subsequently died at the age of just 62. In 'Wot Sid Did' the much loved comic actor is portrayed as a hard-drinking, heavy smoking womaniser who also has an expensive gambling addiction. While dealing with the present of preparing for his stage appearance, and managing both his wife and mistress, 'Sid' also looks back on his successful career. Despite having been born in South Africa, he was to find fame as a Cockney rogue, starting with his big break alongside Tony Hancock in radio show, 'Hancock's Half Hour'. With the aid of his trademark 'dirty laugh' he also starred in a number of Carry On films, the last one being Carry On Dick just a couple of years before his death. But amid the career highlights, Sid also reminisces about the former 'love of his life', actress Barbara Windsor, in this funny but poignant play.

Funny Faces
Funny Faces continues on its national tour


Funny Faces, which is directed by Rosemary Hill, continues on a national tour. For more information about performances, please visit www.nextpageproductions.co.uk

Rating: 5 out of 5
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Why? Play pays tribute to two comedy film legends
When: October 18
Phone: 01543 412121
Where: Lichfield Garrick, Castle Dyke, Lichfield WS13 6HR
Cost: Tickets cost 15
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