Betty Blue Eyes

Betty Blue Eyes

There is a new musical in the West End, and one of its stars is a pig.

It is 1947. WWII is over, The Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Elizabeth are about to be married, and times are tough economically. Food is being rationed, and people are putting up a brave front, pretending to be wealthy when they aren't, and worried about whether or not they can get steak for dinner that night.

Gilbert and Joyce Chilvers (Reece Shearsmith and Sarah Lancashire) move to a new town for a new start in life, along with Joyce's cranky old mother (a wonderful Ann Emery). Gilbert wants to open his own surgery on the parade, and has to be approved by the local businessmen to make this happen. Each day, his wife totes her mother along to see what meat, if any, they can get for dinner with their food coupons. Unfortunately, the mean food inspector shuts down the local meat market because it's selling illegal meat.

This is where the pig comes in.

The pig, properly named Betty Blue Eyes, is being kept at a local farm by some of the town's businessmen, and they plan to kill and serve it as part of their street party for the wedding of the Duke and Princess Elizabeth. Gilbert's application is turned down by them, so he steals the pig and somehow gets it home. And mayhem ensues. As for the pig, let's just say that it commands the stage each time it is seen, and brings about the best laughs. What happens to the pig? Well, that is the plot of the second half.

Great performances from Emery and Lancashire (formerly of Eastenders, who also happens to be a great singer) save the show. Shearsmith, however, is not strong enough as the male lead. And lets not forget the animatronic pig - Betty. What a scene stealer! And she has a voice that happens to be Kylie Minogue's!

Betty Blue Eyes, a take on Alan Bennett's film A Private Function and now playing at the Novello Theatre in London, is cute and fun entertainment.

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