Sunday, May 26

Lantern Writers: Boss New Plays – Royal Court Studio, Liverpool

The Lantern Writers originally formed in 2011 is one of Liverpool’s foremost creative playwriting groups. The group was established to showcase the writing talents of local creatives and to give the important opportunity for their individual works to come alive on the stage.

Boss New Plays is an annual festival of short plays written by members of the Lantern Writers and its always exciting to welcome new works to the stage.

Tonight’s performance (part one of two) featured four plays.

Love Target is written by Mark Davoren and directed by Alex Carr. This black comedy centres around a blind date that clashes with a planned euthanasia “date” – in fact, all a case of mistaken identities.

It’s an interesting and unusual farce which allows the actors to exercise their considerable comedic talents. Davoren’s script was bright and snappy throughout although I felt it could have done with a bit more acidic bite in the dialogue and more story development, but these were minor quibbles. Carr’s direction was well balanced, and he got some great performances from his cast of four. A very enjoyable little farce.

Scousepeare in Love is written by Darren Anglesea and directed by Amber Buttery. This gently amusing play featured two young actors and their less than honourable drama mentor. Buttery’s direction was solid and thoughtful, but I was a little underwhelmed by the overall lack of energy during the middle part of the piece. Nevertheless, Buttery got some great performances from the young cast and Anglesea’s dialogue was delightful.

Tim Visits Liverpool written by Danny Wright and directed by P J Murray. This was Wright’s first play for the stage, and I have to say for his first effort, he did well. I do feel however that this is a play in development, there is a good story here and we need to hear more of it. The direction unfortunately was quite bland and flat, it lacked energy and there seemed to be lots of empty stage from time to time. This is a good piece about mental health that needs to be developed and I hope Wright and Murray bring it back to the stage with renewed energy and verve.

Finally, we had Pedalo to Paris written by Donna Golding and directed by Jennifer Lennox. The play centred around a scouse quartet of women aiming to practice for the forthcoming Paris Olympics in the Pedalo section.

I felt that this was the weakest of the four plays tonight with some poor direction on display and a script that was in much need of editing. I felt the scouse humour was particularly dated and annoying. The trouble was there was no cohesive story to tell, it just didn’t go anywhere. The overall performances were fairly good, and it was clear that some of the audience found it hilarious, but it just left me cold – not my cup of tea I’m afraid.

Overall, the first night of Boss New Plays had some highs and some lows. I look forward to seeing what the Lantern Writers come up with next.

Reviewer: Kiefer Williams

Reviewed: 19th April 2024