BARBARA NICE: Comedy that's naughty and nice

During the mid 1980s, Mr Nice – AKA Howard Marx – had 43 aliases, 89 phone lines and owned 25 companies throughout the world. All were money laundering vehicles serving his core activity – dope dealing.

Mrs Nice, on the other hand, is a housewife and mother. Her maiden name was Garibaldi. She has a house phone that only rings when somebody wants to sell her solar panels for her roof. She has been the dealer in Snap and Happy Families and has given out the odd Valium to Mothers of the Bride at weddings and to friends and acquaintances.

All these and more are why Barbara Nice (real name Janice Connolly) attracted the attention of Peter Kay who saw her as a new act in Manchester and asked her to play Holy Mary in Phoenix Nights.

She described it as a ‘dream story’. She was in the right place at the right time – but admits that she also had the star quality!

Barbara Nice is an ‘ordinary housewife’, mother of five, keen Take a Break reader and occasional stage diver. A vision in leopard skin, she likes to wear clothes from the charity shop and particularly loves garments in fetching animal prints.

Barbara is your average Stockport housewife who has given up the domestic bliss of Tupperware and Poundstretcher shops for the unpredictabilty of the comedy world.

And she arrives at Banbury tomorrow in a season that is garnering the Mill Arts Centre a great reputation as a comedy venue.

Barbara says: “No audience is too rowdy for me to handle – I’ve already raised five teenagers!”

The Banbury show is Hiya and Higher, in which lovely Barbara encourages us to be friendly, stand proud and look the world right in the eye.

Expect a friendly, inclusive atmosphere with plenty of home truths, great timing and unique comic insights into the human condition. Mrs Nice was described by The Times as a hybrid between Victoria Wood and Mrs Merton while The Stage preferred a mix of Victoria Wood and Janis Joplin.

She has recently supported Johnny Vegas and Peter Kay and has grown hugely in popularity with many TV and radio appearances, from Coronation Street to Doctors and from The Mark Radcliffe Show to children’s story-telling.

She has done panto with Lily Savage and is a veteran of comedy festivals all over the UK. And she has taken her act to Europe and as far as Dubai.

The Scotsman describes her as ‘as hilarious as it’s possible to get’ and Banbury is advised to see her ‘before she goes stratospheric’!

n Hiya and Higher is on at the Mill Arts Centre, Spiceball Park, Banbury, at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £12 (£10 concs). Call 01295 279002.

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