Friday, October 30

North West

Stowaway – Liverpool Irish Festival
North West

Stowaway – Liverpool Irish Festival

Liverpool Irish Festival was established to provide a permanent, annual event to celebrate the Irish contribution to Liverpool’s cultural identity and heritage, regularly providing a rich array of arts, literature, film, music, and drama. The current pandemic has provided a new challenge for the Festival to overcome with normally staged performances now transferred to Zoom and Barbara Marsh’s fifth play is no exception to the rule, with the romantic drama – written in response to a Scriptshop theme of ‘leaving’ – put together as a scratch reading under the direction of Zara Marie Brown. Ted (Steve Dean) works as a steward on a passenger ship with Paddy (Daryl Holden), and is bringing pregnant wife Annie (Mairi-Claire Kennedy) and teenage son Jimmy (Lew Freeburn) on the next sailing as ...
Mrs Shaw Herself – Liverpool Irish Festival
North West

Mrs Shaw Herself – Liverpool Irish Festival

Started in 2003 to celebrate the links between Liverpool and Ireland, the Liverpool Irish Festival has always been a highlight of the city’s cultural calendar, bringing a range of arts, literature, film, music, and drama.  However, it is unlikely that any year has been as challenging as this one, with venues closed, social distancing, and so on. Drama is one of the areas most affected by the restrictions, unless the company has access to the type of technology that has been used in the recent streaming for cinema of productions by, for example, the National Theatre and the RSC. However, the online performance of Mrs Shaw Herself, by the Wirral-born writer and musician Helen Tierney, who plays the harp in the change from one ‘scene’ to another, and co-devised with Alexis Leighton, ...
Wake the Dragon – St Luke’s Bombed Out Church
North West

Wake the Dragon – St Luke’s Bombed Out Church

Wake the Dragon was a free event and part of Liverpool Ignitus Festival of Performing Arts and the event managed in partnership with St Luke’s Bombed Out Church, Bring the Fire Project, and Zest Event Management, and with funding from Culture Liverpool’s Without Walls scheme. With a focus on wellbeing, the event was a platform for some of Liverpool’s finest performing artists and organisations to flex their creative muscle and do what they do best: perform and connect with their audience, this time with the added constraint of social distancing. There were three specific acts listed, opening with international theatre company Teatro Pomodoro who also served as MC for the night. Our bubble of four (two couples in case you’re wondering), all of whom met at the celebrated École Phillip...
Swan Song – Liverpool Theatre Festival
North West

Swan Song – Liverpool Theatre Festival

Award-winning writer Jonathan Harvey’s clever monologue was first performed at the Edinburgh Festival and Hampstead Theatre in 1997. Reimagined by Harvey for the Liverpool Theatre Festival, and under the direction of BAFTA award-winning director Noreen Kershaw, it stars Andrew Lancel as English teacher Dave Titswell in a world that is changing both inside and outside of his treasured classroom. Delivered over five segued acts, we humorously contemplate Dave’s lessons in life, garnered from his twenty five years in the teaching profession, as he is faced with the conundrum of whether he has now reached the end of the line or if a school trip to the Lakes will change things for the better. With liberal doses of good humour throughout, what we discover on the way as we navigate his overzealo...
Judy and Liza – Liverpool Theatre Festival
North West

Judy and Liza – Liverpool Theatre Festival

The glamour and glitz of Vaudeville brought joy in a derelict church in Liverpool on an Autumn evening. Judy and Liza is a musical homage and biopic of these giants of the big screen and stage Judy Garland, played by Helen Sheals (Mrs Wigan from Downton Abbey) and Liza Minnelli played by Emma Dears (West End singer/actress who also created the show). The show explores through songs, memories and anecdotes, the talents and turbulence of this mother and daughter relationship as they leaf through the family photo album. There is such a richness of songs between the two that the difficulty was which numbers to leave out. It starts with Garland’s childhood. She was born the youngest of three daughters to Frank and Ethel Gumm, who had their own movie theatre and were keen to introduce ...
Music of The Night – Liverpool Theatre Festival
North West

Music of The Night – Liverpool Theatre Festival

Last night I was back again to the Liverpool theatre festival at St Luke’s Church for another show entitled Music of the Night. A show full of some of the greatest musical numbers of all time. The show was sung by to performers Roy Locke who has starred in Phantom of the Opera in Australia and Germany. Joining him was Olivia Brereton who was in the recent Les Misérables tour and has played Christine in Phantom on the West End. From the off the singing was out of this world and in a cloudless night sky it was the perfect setting for this show. We learned about their careers and why they choose the songs. However, I found the set up of the show frustrating. They played music before the show to set the mood but half of the songs they played we heard again with them singing. I’m all...
The Very Best Of Tommy Cooper (Just like that!) – Liverpool Theatre Festival
NEWS, North West

The Very Best Of Tommy Cooper (Just like that!) – Liverpool Theatre Festival

I backed a horse today at 20 to 1… it came in at 20 past 4 As a child I remember sitting with the family and on came this man in a fez he was funny and very silly his name was Tommy Cooper. I remember thinking I’d love to see this man live but sadly he passed away. So, when I saw that the Liverpool Theatre Festival had a Tommy Copper show, I jumped at the chance to go. Daniel Taylor a local Liverpudlian actor best known for his tenure as Sammy Johnstone in Blood brothers in both the tour and West End show was playing the Magician. Upon entering the St Luke’s Church venue, I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I can tell you is that I didn’t expect what I saw. Daniel Taylor was the living embodiment of the late great Tommy Cooper. His voice, tone, mannerisms were nailed to a tee....
Deathly Confessions –  Liverpool Theatre Festival
North West

Deathly Confessions – Liverpool Theatre Festival

Amidst a global pandemic we laugh about death in these four darkly comic monologues. On an unseasonably warm September evening Liverpool Theatre Festival hosted this performance written by Emma Culshaw and David Paul in St Luke’s Church, the socially distanced venue for the festival, which is an iconic roofless, bombed out church building which has become a centre for arts and performance. There was a cautious audience keen to welcome back live theatre, the stage was sparse with wooden boxes and very little in the way of costume, lighting or audio effects, so it was the ability of the actors that was to keep the audience enthralled. First up was Thomas Galashan as a guilt-ridden ex-soldier revisiting the site of a war time tragedy. Telling his tale whilst swigging from a hip flask a...
Laughterhouse Comedy – Liverpool Theatre Festival
North West

Laughterhouse Comedy – Liverpool Theatre Festival

Theatre is alive once again here in Liverpool, the Bombed-out Church is hosting the Liverpool Theatre Festival by Bill Elms Associates. Offering theatre from plays to comedy and even music. Its fair to say its been a rather odd few months with the Corona Virus but last night felt like theatre has never been away. Each pod was socially distanced, and it was seat service when it came to ordering drinks. Before entering your temperature is taken and hands are sanitised. The staff of the festival were on the ball when it came to safety. Last night’s entertainment was a comedy night from Laughterhouse Comedy. Opening the night was Compere Chris Cairns whose fast-witted humour had the audience laughing as soon as he started speaking. His humours and quick-fire nature started the night right. ...
Rose – Hope Mill Theatre
North West

Rose – Hope Mill Theatre

Rose is sitting shiva, participating in the Jewish tradition of mourning someone who has died and sharing stories about their life. And this particular death turns out to be tangled up with her story in a way that is really quite unexpected. As she sits, she shares snapshots from her own life that sometimes seem a little disconnected, as she wanders through the images in her memory, trying to separate the things that actually happened to her from the movies she has seen over the years and the stories she has been told; recognising that there are some things that she just doesn’t want to remember. Rose begins by talking about growing up in a Jewish village in Ukraine, her relationship with her parents and siblings, and the civil war and its consequences. She talks about following her br...