Tuesday, August 16

The Spitfire Grill – Hope Street Theatre

Liverpool Theatre School has been producing strong triple-threat performers in the heart of the city for many years. Supported by a strong faculty of teachers in all discipline’s graduates have gained and are continuing to gain a variety of credits including West End and more.

From 29th – 30th June – third year musical theatre students at LTS have performed The Spitfire Grill directed by Freyja Winterson and with musical direction from George Strickland. The Spitfire Grill is an American musical based on the 1996 film, which tells the story of a young woman fresh out of prison finding her way in a small town in Wisconsin. Since the musicals first workshop in 2000 it has since developed worldwide in regional theatre productions and festivals including its arrival to the UK in the 2008 Edinburg Fringe Festival.

7 cast members take on the roles from The Spitfire Grill led by Bliss Grimes who confidently handles the role of Percy Talbott with some beautiful vocals strongly showing especially in her performance of ‘Shine’. Also, tonight the role of Shelby was portrayed by Abigail Coy who should be commended for her character development throughout. Coy captures the innocence perfectly of her character and shows promise within musical theatre. ‘Wild Bird’ was a personal favourite in this evening’s performance with some emotive acting from both Grimes and Coy prior to this. However, my personal stand-out performance goes to Freya Ebbrell in her role as Hannah. Ebbrell is consistent and clever in her acting choices and has a confident stage presence which I think will take this young performer far. But a round of applause to all cast members as they are given mature characters and work well with their direction.

The Hope Street Theatre venue supported this musical choice well in terms of space – it was compact and cosy. However, some technical issues with microphones caused small distraction throughout. But it was well handled by the cast as their projection was great and true professionalism was shown. Although minimal, the set and props worked well within the space, and I particularly like the use of chairs as the characters transition through the forest. Under the direction of George Strickland – the band did a fantastic job working well together to support the cast.

It was a pleasure to be invited to watch The Spitfire Grill and it is yet again another showcase of talented performers that Liverpool has – it is clear that LTS is providing a strong training base for musical theatre training. THE BEST OF LUCK to all third-year students on the start of their professional journeys.

Reviewer: Daniel Cox

Reviewed: 29th June 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★

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