Following on from the success of their event at 81 Renshaw Street in July 2019, the Lantern Writers collective were all set to soar again last April until – well, we all know what happened next.
But time flies, the world moves on, and so better late than never, they reconvene to deliver another three nights of ground-breaking new theatre at Liverpool’s Royal Court this November.
The premise remains the same with twelve pieces of original writing delivered across three evenings with plays typically ranging in length from 15 minutes to half-an-hour, although this time round an hour-long piece opens the proceedings. Covering a wide variety of genres, audiences are guaranteed a diverse mix each night with comedy and drama intermingled to provide an entertaining showcase.
One of the great strengths of Lantern Writers productions is that they team up with the cream of Merseyside directors to take the writing from the page to the stage, and then crank it up another notch by engaging the best local acting talent in the region to make it the complete triple-billing, with everyone involved being rewarded through a profit-share arrangement.
Mark Davoren’s Kafkaesque drama ‘Jigsaw’ starts it all off on Thursday 4th November: when two couples meet over dinner, it’s more than the courses on offer as secrets are revealed from the past and cracks begin to appear. Or do they…
Second on the night is Donna Golding’s ‘Smeared’, a heartfelt and humorous exploration of the trials of a forty-something woman, followed by Mari Lloyd’s short piece, ‘Charity’, that finds a young Liverpool lad having three weeks to prove himself in his new job, but is it all about business rather than compassion?
Friday night opens to Peter Edmondson’s ‘Town Hall Tantrums’, as a Council Leader chooses to ignore his advisors’ pleas not to develop on a city centre park at his peril, followed by Jamie McLoughlin’s ‘There’s A Man On A Mountain’, as we discover that getting what you always needed is most definitely not the same as getting what you wanted.
Third on is Darren Anglesea’s cheeky Derby-day comedy ‘Blue Bra, Red Undies’, with Dave on a promise if Liverpool win whilst Trish is up for a holiday if Everton triumph. Finishing off the night is Mark Murphy’s almost topical piece ‘It’s Not The Coughing That Carries you Off’ which finds the ailments of the locals attending a GP surgery taking a back seat to the comedy of daily life.
Finally, Saturday night opens with Anglesea’s second piece, ‘Banter’ when, despite appearances to the contrary, all is not as it seems for young Tony, before Irene Stuart’s ‘Sweet Sixteen’ pops the birthday balloons of a happy family. Third up is Steph Niciu’s ‘Friendship Never Ends’ which explores the consequences of hidden jealousy in the face of blossoming friendships.
Taking us into the final half is Joe Lewis’ ‘The Iron Men’ with Frank and Ray shaking off any rustiness to help new boy Mick step up to the plate, before McLoughlin’s second piece, ‘The Ib Sterling’, sees Digsby and Cheem discover that starting out on a new life with better prospects is a bit of a weighty issue in the late 21st Century.
With such an eclectic mix on offer, there is something for everyone to enjoy as well as providing some much-needed food for thought on matters we perhaps don’t often contemplate.
Lantern Writers’ Boss New Plays performs at Liverpool’s Royal Court from Thursday 4th November through to Saturday 6th November 2021 with performances starting at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced at £10 for each evening and are available via https://liverpoolsroyalcourt.com/whats-on/boss-new-plays/