Theatre preview: A Beryl Full of Life, Love and Laughter – Roll Out the Beryl

Published by METRO

Tonight (22 February), 7.30pm, £11.25 (concs £9.25), Brunton Theatre, Edinburgh. Tel: 0131 665 2240. www.bruntontheatre.co.uk

VIDEO: Beryl Reid as Concepción the Spanish waitress (from Beryl Reid Says Good Evening!, BBC, 1968)

Sometimes, you’ve just got to ask your gran.

‘Have you heard of Beryl Reid?’ I put to her over the phone.

We’d just sorted out when I was next coming round for Sunday lunch, so my question was a surprise.

After a pause, she said: ‘Of course I have!’

‘She started out on radio in the 1950s – on a comedy programme called Educating Archie,’ continued my gran. ‘Everybody used to listen to her.’

I was told that Beryl went on to star in her own television series, which drew in millions of viewers every week.

‘She was a popular name. You know who Simon Cowell is today – back then, you knew who Beryl Reid was.’

I said I was previewing a show about her.

Beryl’s most entertaining characters – including ghastly schoolgirl Monica, lovable Brummie Marlene, and hilarious Concepción, the Spanish waitress – are reborn in a very special performance tonight.

The late comedienne, portrayed by Elaine Pantling, will also prepare a three-course meal before an audience as she discusses her life, I explained.

‘Where’s this happening?’ asked my gran, who lives in Yorkshire. ‘At the Brunton Theatre in Edinburgh,’ I replied. ‘Oh, never mind!’ she chuckled.

Beryl tackled more dramatic roles as her career developed, becoming known for her versatility on stage and screen. Among her finest professional achievements were a best actress Bafta award and a Golden Globe nomination.

In later life, Beryl lived alone with her cats, and died from pneumonia in 1996 – aged 76.

‘Well I wish I was going, it sounds like it’ll be great fun,’ my gran said, adding: ‘Right, I’d better get dinner on.’