Saturday, December 9

Stocking Fillers – Liverpool’s Royal Court Studio

Stocking Fillers – Liverpool’s Royal Court Studio December 2022

If you need something to make you feel Christmassy, look no further. Amongst the wholesome decoration of the studio, Emma Bird has allowed these short plays to shine. With a drunken Santa, a police investigation, and a church flasher, laughs were not running short. As a collection of short plays provided by the new writer’s scheme at the theatre, it was a fantastic collection of tales. 

Rachel Hunter’s Derby Day Domestic was a lovely way to open. Pip was a highlight and the comedy timing was sharp. Tendency was had to verge on playing for a laugh, but it was minor and didn’t distract from the story.

White Christmas Lies by Wallace Charles was a highlight for me. Performed with conviction and warmth, this monologue was a welcome break from the comedy. This was because the writing was fluid, natural and well-structured, an exemplary monologue. I found myself smiling when I saw there were more parts to it split up amongst the plays.

Photo: Clara Mbirimi

Shelter was a memorable play. Harvey Robinson has found a gap in between the festive cliché and given us something to think about. Although it was sensitive and sweet, it was too long. The message was clear and would have benefited from a few dialogue cuts.

EJ Fisher’s Midnight Mass Bouncer was a clever concept. Coming after Shelter it was a task to get the audience laughing again and the flasher was brilliant for that (don’t worry there was no real nudity). The Southern church snob was a bit too forced for me but overall, another warm-hearted Christmas tale.

Better Watch Out by Rachel Clark was the only story with a creepy edge. The audience loved Mrs C’s character and the play was well-structured. A great performance.

Jacqui Dunne’s Santa on the Roof was a load of scouse fun. The small capabilities with set in the studio did not matter because the performance was believable. If I had had 13 Baileys and rum, I’d definitely be a bit more unstable on my feet but maybe that’s just me. A friendly story with a nice twist, I enjoyed it.

Lastly, A Tipsy Christmas Fairytale by Liz Redwood was great. Naturally nuanced dialogue, specifically between the two policeman, and the Liverpool relatability, meant the audience were laughing a lot. Clever use of the lights and sound enhanced the piece as a whole made it a great one to end the evening with.

My stocking was definitely filled with festive feeling after these performances. A huge success for these new writers, I look forward to seeing their work again one day.

Reviewer: Hannah Esnouf

Reviewed: 20th December 2022