Reviewer: Tracey Lowe
The Public Reviews Rating:
From the second I entered the glorious Lyric theatre at the Lowry, the vast amounts of silver hair that greeted me instantly indicated what kind of demographic Pam Ayres appeals to. Not exactly a golden oldie herself (she looks fantastic for her 64 years); this Sunday matinee is clearly the place to be for the discerning retiree and their younger friends and families.
Pam Ayres is an instantly appealing lady. She greets the crowd as if they were old friends, and opens with a poem about being a reluctant pensioner. She clearly knows her audience. I was instantly struck by how she didn’t need to read from one of her many books of verse, only to have her stumble towards the end of her first poem and sneak a peek. If anything, this only made her more endearing, and the audience warmed to her even more.
But this show is by no means a poetry recital. Ayres shares a wonderful story about how she got her big break on 70s TV talent show ‘Opportunity Knocks’, which seems so much more heartfelt and interesting than the contrived sob stories of reality show contestants.
Perhaps the most moving parts of the show are when she speaks about her family. A story about denying her mother and a poem about the absence of her grown-up sons are extremely poignant, showing she is capable of tugging at the heart strings as well as igniting riotous laughter. Said laughter comes when Ayres pokes fun at her husband, as well as some light innuendo.
Some of her poems are almost anthems to some members of the audience, and certain people choose to audibly give the punch lines away before Ayres has a chance to deliver them. Some of the rhymes might be a bit predictable, but they lose a bit of their magic when Norman in the row behind blurts them out.
Nevertheless, this was a lovely, gentle, heart-warming show from a national treasure. I would gladly spend many more hours in her company.
Reviewed on 26th February 2012.