Celebrating Linda Smith

Norwich Playhouse

by Eve Stebbing, 10th March 2008

I was a big fan of Linda Smith's. I loved hearing her acerbic little asides in the News Quiz. She had such a talent for old-fashioned wit.

And a gift for the quirky visual gag: “Models, they're so thin you could play the theme tune from The Third Man on their ribs.”

So it's great to see her work hitting the stage two years since she died from ovarian cancer.

The evening was put together by her “boyfriend” - apparently she hated the word “partner” - and several former members of her own Sheffield Popular Theatre Co.

Her friends told of comedy for the miners during the strikes (“I think they'd have preferred bingo”), creaky village hall gigs and Linda's first steps into Radio 4. We also learnt about her passion for left wing ideals (Ian Gibson, MP was there with his memories of her) and we even got to hear her favourite songs - Etta James numbers mixed with Elvis Costello and Nina Simone all sung by the gorgeously talented Carol Grimes.

But it was her humanism that shone through: she didn't believe in God, but thought that “people create relationships between them that go beyond them.”

In a very literal sense, this tour proves that's true.