Tuesday, November 29

Leaving – Hope Street Theatre

This was the opening night of a quartet of new plays written by Liverpool Scriptshop playwrights. Selected from many scripts submitted, Scriptshop wanted to present four of these new pieces as part of the exciting Liverpool Fringe Theatre Festival 2021. The overall theme of these one act plays was all about leaving, whether it be physically or emotionally.

On this first night, Scriptshop presented us with the first two plays.

Prayers for Albert written and directed by William Lee focused on a local family living and surviving through World War 1. Based upon actual events, the play was simply set and told the moving story of young couple Eileen (Catherine Fahy) and Albert (Luke Morgan). It was a familiar tale with one half of the stage set as the home front and the other half set as the battlefield. The set was actually quite good.

I did feel however that the cast was way too large and needlessly cumbersome and in this case I think maybe less is definitely more. Transitions between scenes jarred a little and could’ve been smoother but overall it was a charming and heartfelt piece of theatre.

From of the cast, Geraldine Moloney Judge as Catherine gave a pleasing and beautifully realised performance and I just wished that Lee could’ve used her more in some of the scenes.

North West End UK Rating: ★★★

The second play of the evening War Games written and directed by Stella Young had a totally different feel about it.

The play centred on a mother and daughter who want to leave their city/country of origin in search of a new life and hopefully a safer haven. However, all was not what it seemed and it would be unfair of me to offer any spoilers, suffice to say that if this comes around again, it’s a play that you must see.

I felt this was definitely the sharper and more focussed of the two plays tonight; it had quick intelligent dialogue, no gaps in the action and characters that were really quite believable and sympathetic. The performance of the entire evening came from Gemma Scott who played the young daughter; it was a finely judged and thoughtful piece of acting.

I would love to see Young extend War Games into a full length play, keeping all her key characters and moving their story on. A fascinating piece of theatre, for sure.

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Kiefer Williams

Reviewed: 5th October 2021