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Preview: Spending spree

Spend Spend Spend director Claire Harriott of  Handsworth and Hallam Theatre Company, who met the real Viv Nicholson
Spend Spend Spend director Claire Harriott of Handsworth and Hallam Theatre Company, who met the real Viv Nicholson

Spend Spend Spend, the musical based on the extraordinary life of pools winner Viv Nicholson is being revived by Handsworth and Hallam Theatre Company next week.

In 1961 young miner Keith Nicholson won the equivalent today of around £3 million – but it was his wife Viv who stole the headlines when she declared she was going to ”spend, spend, spend”.

Completely seduced by her new found fame and notoriety, her spending spiralled out of control and she finished up penniless.

The musical plays out like a cross between soap opera and Greek tragedy and it’s a story that Viv herself loved, travelling all over the country to see revivals of the show.

Handsworth and Hallam’s director Claire Harriott actually experienced the full impact of Viv’s extraordinary personality because she was in a revival of the musical at Sheffield’s Lyceum more than a decade ago which saw Viv turning up at rehearsals and the opening night.

“She sat beside me and when she heard songs like Canary in a Cage and Who’s Gonna Love Me, she sat and cried like she was living it all again,” Claire recalls.

“The show doesn’t particularly portray Viv in a fantastic or favourable light,” she points out.

“But she just loved it, she loved all the attention, she just loved being there and seeing her story presented.”

Spend Spend Spend is at The Montgomery Theatre from Wednesday to Friday, 7.15pm, and Saturday, 2.15pm, 7.15pm. Tickets on 07586 293546, email: hhtctickets@live.co.uk or visit www.hhtcsheffield.co.uk