Any show which has the catchphrases “You’re not Nancy”. “You might be Nancy” and “We’ll see you at Nancy school” is worthy of some acclaim, but this opener to the latest set of Saturday night West End auditions was a bit dull and screechy.
What was good about it?
• The hunt for one women to play Nancy and three boys to play Oliver did reveal some talented performers but they tended to blur into each other. The only ones who we could still remember 10 minutes after the show ended were the EastEnder who is actually called Nancy (stand by for weeks of fun as the judges say “Nancy, you could be Nancy”) and the little Welsh lad.
• The laughable quotes from John Barrowman – “I know my craft. You’re just not Nancy” – and a teenage contestant – “Dickens originally wrote the role of Nancy for a 17-year-old.”
What was bad about it?
• The formats of these shows are so set in stone now that they’ve become boring. The hyperbolic language from Graham ‘no cliché left unused’ Norton (“the toughest battle of all time”), the sinister presence of Andrew “the most powerful man” L-W, the screaming with delight, the tears of despair and, worst of all, the soggy sob stories. Boo hoo hoo, a relative of mine died. Boo hoo hoo, I’m a single mum. Boo hoo hoo, my throat hurts. And, course, there’s always a contestant from a small Irish town where dinner times are jolly and hairstyles are crinkly.