Sunday, September 24

Greatest Days – Liverpool Empire

Matt Wesley and his creative team have brought to life Tim Firth’s story of true friendship and finding ourselves within life’s unpredictability. Framed by a fantastic Take That soundtrack I thought the show was hitting almost all of the right notes.

A standout aspect of the performance was the orchestra. Josh Cottell and his talented musicians provided an outstanding backing track for the duration of the show. Being visible from the audience, Josh’s conducting was great to watch. Considering the popularity of the soundtrack, they lived up to all expectation and delivered the feet-stomping, hand-clapping kind of music, perfect to fill the grandiose setting of the Empire.

For the performers, I must mention a few highlights. Firstly, my appreciation must go to all female actors and singers on stage. Both young and adult performances of Rachel, Zoe, Claire and Heather were equal in energy, vigour and humility throughout. They were able to provide laughter, heart wrenching dialogue whilst dancing in time and singing sweet harmony which is testament to performances they should all be proud of. Of course I must mention Debbie, who, of course doesn’t get an adult character, but her conviction was not out of place within that girl group.*

Additionally, Christopher D. Hunt as Jeff was a fantastic part of the story. Although he wasn’t in every scene, from his first appearance to the last scene, the audience knew he would provide. Having some of the best comic lines, whilst also a part of some of the softest vulnerable scenes, he was a crowd favourite and a fantastic addition to the cast and ensemble.

Whilst the majority of the performance was impressive, some aspects did let it down. With cast members providing such quality action and song, it is more obvious when some notes aren’t quite hit.  The Boy Band** at times fell into this category. Having the soundtrack the show does, they had an understandably difficult job which they tackled well, but I felt as if they were singing as a group of five soloists rather than a band. Harmonies were a bit unbalanced, and it felt as if they were trying to sing over each other than together. Of course, the dance numbers and choreography of Lucy Osborne were performed to a slick standard, but in terms of song, I think they need a bit more practice together.

Overall, this is a show I would see again. I enjoyed it thoroughly, and whilst some aspects could be improved, the storyline and soundtrack can be universally recognised, and I think this show will be around for many years to come.

*Emilie Cunliffe and Kym Marsh, Hannah Brown and Holly Ashton, Mari McGinlay and Jamie-Rose Monk, Kitty Harris and Rachel Marwood and Mary Moore.

** Alexanda O’Reilly, Archie Durrant, Jamie Corner, Kalifa Burton and Regan Gascoigne.

Reviewer: Hannah Esnouf

Reviewed: 11th July 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.