Reviewed by Catherine Brown
Pam Ayres lived up to her entertaining, heart-warming reputation during her show at the Garrick Theatre in the Staffordshire city of Lichfield last night (27 January 2018). Her career began when she won the television show Opportunity Knocks in 1975 and Ayres has gone on to appearing on television and radio shows, as a poet, comedienne, songwriter and presenter.
The night involved a collection of stories and poems, old and new, which although based on her own life experiences, could also be related to by many in the audience. Ayres is well-known for poems with rhyming patterns whereby the audience can often predict what is coming even before she finishes a line. This was particularly true in a well-received verse called ‘Don’t put my dinner on a slate’ which I can imagine becoming just as popular as her timeless ‘Oh I wish I’d looked after me teeth’.
While many of the poems were recited from memory, Ayres did try out some new material which required her to read from a sheet. A couple of times she did forget her words or which topic she intended to talk about next – but I guess that can be excused knowing she has recently celebrated her 70th birthday. The audience didn’t seem to mind and the laughter throughout confirmed that everyone was enjoying themselves.
Ayres discussed her life as a wife, mum and grandparent along with the challenges of travelling abroad. She told a wonderful tale of her first experience of wearing a wetsuit on the beach in Newquay and made me quite emotional with her poem about leaving the family home for the final time.
The Lichfield Garrick is a modern theatre with a main auditorium and smaller studio. Finding the theatre was easy due to the brown signs and there were a variety of parking options. The staff at the Garrick were very welcoming and polite, with plenty of seating in the bar area for pre-show drinks.
I would give the overall experience a 4/5 rating – Pam Ayres is very clever with the material she creates, and this show will definitely be enjoyed by an audience over 50.
Pam Ayres is currently on tour around the UK, for more information and tour dates visit pamayres.com.
For other shows at the Lichfield Garrick visit www.lichfieldgarrick.com or call the box office on 01543 412121.
Lichfield Garrick Theatre, Castle Dyke, Lichfield, WS13 6HR | 01543 412121