The show, Coronation Street – Street of Dreams had its ‘world premiere’ at the Manchester Arena on Wednesday night, 9th May, and Russell was the special guest-star for that night and the subsequent performance on the Thursday.
Celebrating the nations’s best-loved TV Soap, Paul O’Grady narrates and participates in a musical pantomime of the essential highlights of the 50 years of the Coronation Street series.
Naturally, over that time, many characters have come and gone… some to the great TV Studio in the sky, and the storyline is woven in song and dance around Paul, a cheeky, camp Scouser visiting the Coronation Street set, and the spirit of ‘Julie Carp’, recently deceased from the TV series, who has taken on the role of guiding other deceased characters from this earthly life onwards to their eternal rest.
Julie, who is now literally The Angel Of Death, and Paul travel through time to visit various periods of the show’s history and meet some of the principal characters. Julie, of course, knows who is about to ‘pass on’, and when, but has some difficulty controlling Paul’s interaction with the characters, particularly as he also yearns to fulfil a boyhood dream to drive a tram - with terrible consequences, as those who know the Coronation Street plot-line can probably imagine.
As the story comes up-to-date with the disaster that claimed the lives of so many characters, there is a mix of live action on stage and footage from the TV series shown on the huge screens above the Street’s rooftops, and Russell appears from one of the houses to lead the cast in the song Ghosts – Take My Hand while Julie-Angel gathers up the souls of the departed, including a white-suited Paul, who got his wish to drive a tram… the one that derailed and crashed off the viaduct into the street.
Russell said, on Granada Reports, the North West’s regional TV news programme, that the cast did all the work, he comes on at the end and sings one song, and gets all the applause!
He certainly did, though it was unfortunate that the acoustics of the Arena (and possibly the ‘head-mikes’ of the chorus) made it difficult to hear the words properly.
The song isn’t even on the show’s soundtrack CD but, if you want, you can hear all the other songs on the “Street Of Dreams” Facebook Album page… and you can actually hear the words. Please note, according to Tesco’s website “This CD was previously available as ‘Coronation Street: Rogues, Angels, Heroes & Fools: The Album” so maybe that’s why.
Here’s what we think is a fairly accurate review from The Mirror that includes a promotional video, though Russell’s efforts could have been given more credit.
After the show, of course, comes the aftershow party. We weren’t invited but the professionals got some good photos, as can be seen on the ”Cozycot” website… click where it says ‘show images’ below the two rows of thumbnails to see more pictures, including a couple of Russell in a leather jacket.
The show is scheduled to play at -
The O2 Dublin on May 18th and 19th - Guest singer Keith Duffy
Odyssey Arena, Belfast on May 21st and 22nd - Guest singer Keith Duffy
Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle on May 29th and 30th - Guest singer Joe McElderry
and the show’s writer was recently quoted by WalesOnline as saying that there were plans in hand to take it to other cities later in the year.