Tuesday, March 28

Twice Nightly – Liverpool Theatre Festival

Liverpool Theatre Festival is about halfway through its run of nightly performances that boosts everything from music to drama, comedy and lots more. The same can be said for tonight’s performance ‘Twice Nightly’ which served up all of the above and more in one show!

‘Twice nightly’ is a 70-minute show which was not only written by and directed by Maria Lovelady and Michael Alan Bailey but it also stars these two talented performers as the double act Don & Madge. The show opens with Don & Madge singing a duet with the catchy words ‘what did we steal?’ This opening number leaves the audience wondering what they are in for, who are these pair? Is the show about mastermind criminals? is it all sung? and to add to the curiosity, Don’s moustache kept falling off- was this supposed to happen? Either way, it didn’t matter as I think Michael brilliantly ad-libbed and as we get to know Don, a shoddy tash is complete in keeping with his character. Perhaps this comedic layer will be a permanent addition to the opening song!

To my relief, the opening number was a performance within a performance and the characters begin to speak as they come ‘off stage’ and discuss their less than glamorous jobs in a tiny dressing room. We soon get to know Madge & Don as the wannabe superstars who met at an audition and became a comedy duo by accident. We follow their journey as they try to ‘get a big break’ showcasing their act in any theatre that’ll have them.

The actors do a fantastic job of playing two comedic individuals; Madge & Don, who give it their all but end up being slightly rough around the edges while on stage. Maria’s voice and tone is particularly funny and complemented by Michael’s expressions; their characterisation brings lots of humour and fun to the performance. The audience are always looking forward to seeing what could happen next for Madge & Don!

‘Twice Nightly’ is definitely something a bit different, the creators have taken inspiration from plays, comedy, musicals and even pantomime to create something quite unique and enjoyable. There is some audience participation, and the wit is quite ‘old school’ with local nods, innuendos and literal jokes making many appearances. I really enjoyed seeing a show which focuses on ‘friendship’ rather than the generic romantic relationships that we so commonly see on stage.

Roy Carruthers crops into the show a number of times playing a range of comical characters. It is clear that this man has funny bones because when he comes on stage, the audience erupts into laughter! Roy impressively showcases a range of accents, but more diction was needed on a few occasions.  In saying this, it didn’t really matter as Roy could be saying anything and the audience would be laughing at his brilliantly animated facial expressions!

The music and original score by Jessica Dives must be complemented as it was completely in keeping with the show’s genre and had the audience singing along in a matter of seconds.

Overall, ‘Twice Nightly’ has a lovely light, silly feel to it that leaves you smiling from ear to ear. Michael’s proud Nan Pat and the rest of the audience couldn’t help but sing along as we cheered and clapped during the humorous closing number. Huge congratulations to Maria Lovelady and Michael Alan Bailey for creating, developing and starring in this highly amusing piece of theatre. The Festival continues in the beautiful Bombed Out Church until 12th of September 2021, for tickets and more information on future performances, please visit https://www.liverpooltheatrefestival.com/

Reviewer: Blathine Maguire

Reviewed: 7th September 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★