Thursday, February 29

Tag: Hope Street Theatre

The Guildford Poltergeist – Hope Street Theatre
North West

The Guildford Poltergeist – Hope Street Theatre

Where to start with this play? It’s 1965 and a dysfunctional family of Irish descent (confusingly called Starbuck - a Yorkshire name) have moved from Manchester to deepest Surrey. Following the death of their father, bright seventeen-year-old Tristan must leave school to support his violent, alcoholic mother, Kathleen, and his neuro-atypical, school-shirking sister, Joyce. They’re already outsiders but they’re just about fitting in. Until the arrival of a poltergeist, which brings them infamy and attracts the suspicion of the local community. It also brings them into contact with a paranormalist, the priest, the press and the plod. Playwright Tess Humphrey has a lot to say about, in no particular order: Catholicism, generational trauma, otherness, racism, sexism, neurodiversity, PTS...
Abigail’s Party – Hope Street Theatre
North West

Abigail’s Party – Hope Street Theatre

The Northern Comedy Theatre’s Abigail’s Party is another casualty of the closure of the Epstein. Relocated to the Hope Street Theatre, a tiny, intimate auditorium of just 85 cramped seats, located incongruously between a Masonic Hall, displaying the ritual paraphernalia of set squares and compasses, and the excellent Liverpool Arts Bar, the audience are projected almost on to the stage itself. Yet this only serves to foster the claustrophobic, pressure-cooker effect that this play demands. Devised in 1977 by Mike Leigh, the play observes the Classical Unities of time, action and place, depicting a drinks party thrown by the appalling Beverly (Kathryn Chambers) and her husband Laurence (Franklyn Jacks) for new neighbours Tony and Angela. Also present is Susan, who has been invited to...
Sus – Hope Street Theatre
North West

Sus – Hope Street Theatre

Barrie Keeffe’s play Sus exploring the deep-set systemic racism within the Metropolitan Police and society at large premiered over forty years ago yet with the resignation of Commissioner Cressida Dick less than two years ago following her failure to deal with misogyny and racism in the force, this powerful play still resonates. Whilst set on the eve of Thatcher’s landslide election victory in 1979, there are obvious and relevant parallels to Brexit’s ‘taking our country back’ that are reinforced by current-day statistics that tell us that black people are still nine times more likely to be stopped and searched than their white contemporaries. Unemployed father of three, Delroy (Rikki Dallas), has been brought in for interrogation by two police officers, Wilby (David J Williamson) ...
Dirty Old Town & Out Of The Woodwork – Hope Street Theatre
North West

Dirty Old Town & Out Of The Woodwork – Hope Street Theatre

Dirty Old Town Hope Street Theatre tonight offered up a double bill of theatrical flavours:  Marigold Lately in Dirty Old Town: a one woman show as a bitter-sweet starter. Followed by Lee Clotworthy’s new farce Out Of The Woodwork- a tasty meat-feast of laughter. Mikyla Jane Durkan and Lee Clotworthy both Liverpool theatre-makers, collaborated on this shared evening. For me, there was a certain amount of disconnect in styles but if you are looking for variety then you certainly won’t be disappointed. The first half gives us a stand-up routine perhaps more at home in cabaret or a comedy club.  There is no doubt Durkan is an experienced performer but sometimes the lines blurred between what was Marigold’s truth and Durkan’s own… or was that the point? There were plenty of...
The Book of Horror: Volume 1, A Haunting on Hope Street – Hope Street Theatre
North West

The Book of Horror: Volume 1, A Haunting on Hope Street – Hope Street Theatre

A scare fest which gets your pulse racing and heart pumping. 4AM Productions present this diverse scary selection of tales of the most terrible, with a rich blend of horror classics and new writing. We’re trick or treated into watching an assortment of stand-alone ghost stories, which feature some terrific twists and turns. All performed by a strong ensemble of 12, with most doubling up as actors, writers and directors. Our compare for the evening, The Curator (portrayed with gusto by Phil Halfpenny), our gothic garbed host, presents a selection of less than savoury tales to get us in the mood for the spooky season. The Curator and his ever-dependent servant, the creepy Minion (well played by Luke Bennet) deliver some laugh out loud moments and funny audience interactions which real...
Plays in the Key of Life – Hope Street Theatre
North West

Plays in the Key of Life – Hope Street Theatre

Plays in the Key of Life is an anthology of four short plays, presented by Writers Inc. Productions, a Liverpool based company founded by the four playwrights whose work is being presented. Each play has a different theme, but they are all united by explorations of loss, particularly loss caused by abandonment. The first piece is The Tramp and The Lady, written by Bob Towers and directed by Brian McCann. The play is presented with a simple set of two fold up chairs, representing the outside of a train station, and Mike Sanders, playing a homeless man, does a good job of creating a sense of a cold wet day. The atmosphere becomes even more unpleasant with the entrance of Abi Tyrer, the ironically named “lady” of the title, who is judgmental, rude and very nasty to both her partner, whom ...
Part Vampire – Hope Street Theatre
North West

Part Vampire – Hope Street Theatre

Part Vampire, written by Kenny O’Connell and directed by Zara Marie Brown, with music by Matt Shaw and the cast, is a musical comedy which plays with classic and contemporary horror tropes om a fun and exciting story of the cutthroat environment of showbusiness and what people are willing to do to achieve success. The set features an ornate chair, polished coat stand and floral sofa, creating the impression of a well-kept, if slightly old fashioned home for Jack Moody (Phil Jones), a 67-year old former Hammer Horror extra who lives with his mother (Linzy Boden). The show does a good job of exploiting the cringey and camp reputation of Hammer Horror with its darker undertones and genuine scary moments. Jack enters the stage in a threadbare dressing gown and plays an emotional piece o...
Lost in The Beat – Hope Street Theatre
North West

Lost in The Beat – Hope Street Theatre

New musical play hits all the right notes with emotional songs and thought -provoking drama. With so many shows being based around well-known hits these days, it’s refreshing to see a new musical play with original well-penned songs. Beat Productions present this multilayered show written by Andrea Orton and composed by Di Healey and Richard Badger.  Lost in the Beat examines many issues, but mainly that of early onset dementia against a backdrop of well- constructed melodies and lyrics, performed by a fifteen-strong choir supporting the cast.  What a super choir they are!  This real community choir threw themselves into this project. A harmonious wall of sound with lovely smiling faces! Behind them, four excellent musicians. Orton’s story is about a 45-year-old woman, a community c...
New Generations – Hope Street Theatre
North West

New Generations – Hope Street Theatre

A warm and welcoming story of ‘Love, Life & Family’, laced with beautiful original music, plays it safe, in this heartfelt exploration into generational childbirth and parenting. Premiered as a one act play, entitled ‘Grandmother’ at the 2022 Liverpool Theatre Festival, this piece has evolved into a 2-act performance renamed ‘New Generations’. With original songs and writing by Ana Murphy, the development has so much potential but shy’s away from tackling its issues head on. Or perhaps Murphy’s aim is to show that families, despite their best intentions, can tend to brush difficult issues under the carpet.    The jovialities of the close-knit O’Brian family fun nights of games, joking and dancing is brought to an abrupt end following the news of Becky’s (Clare Alexandr...
Transistor – Hope Street Theatre
North West

Transistor – Hope Street Theatre

Dark Horse Theatre Chiang Mai’s Transistor is an exploration of gender and sexuality and its effects on family life. Written and directed by Kelly Holliday this is a very funny and dramatic piece of theatre which takes an issue which is currently causing a lot of controversy and arguments, particularly online, and makes it something which can be talked about albeit without minimising the strength of emotions people feel about it. The set is overwhelmed with busyness, with clutter and cardboard boxes littering most of the stage. The chaos contrasts well with a peaceful looking bench on a patch of grass. Empty picture frames hang over the stage and the boxes are labelled to illustrate that their contents are the result of an ongoing clear out. The play opens with Vivian (Judy Mandel) ...