MONDAY 3RD APRIL 2017 – Empire Theatre, Liverpool – Review by Tate James, originally written for West End Wilma

The pulling power of Grease has never been more prevalent than opening night at the vast auditorium of the Liverpool Empire Theatre, when a two-thousand-strong sold out audience sang along with “Hopelessly Devoted to You”. Producer David Ian struck gold back in the day when he took the most popular movie musical of all time and put it on stage, and has gone to every length since to maintain its status as a musical theatre titan, including the 2007 ITV talent show “Grease Is the Word”. His latest trick seems to be one undertaken by many a show nowadays: to pack it to the brim with varying degrees of celebrity in the leading roles.

Following in the footsteps of his twinkle-toed Band Member Jay McGuinness, Tom Parker from The Wanted takes to the stage and dons the leather jacket as the leader of the T-Birds, Danny Zuko. Despite not looking like the typical Danny, Tom sings well and definitely dances up a storm in the energetic hand-jive sequence, and we are willing to overlook his initial wooden delivery when he warms up in the second half and surprises with moments of real humour and charm.

Swapping her ruby slippers for the infamous cork wedges of Sandy is Over the Rainbow star Danielle Hope. It’s the age old story of how the innocent school girl ignores all of her morals, curls her hair and slips into a skin tight catsuit to win her man, and Hope delivers a very well-pitched performance. Her rendition of Sandra Dee in the second act, complete with hair toss and power belt, is the standout performance of the night.

Less successful is the casting of Louisa Lytton as an underwhelming and immature Rizzo, and the unnecessary inclusion of Darren Day into proceedings as Vince Fontaine and the Teen Angel. Lytton lacks the harshness we crave from Rizzo, and though Day sings well, he seems out of place in this vibrant and energetic company of talented youthful performers. His gratuitous 1970s Austin Powers impression in a musical set in the 1950s and other extraneous ad libs about being too old all read as a cry for attention in a show where the young ensemble are the definite stars.

And what an ensemble they are. Their slick high energy choreography and infectious personality bring the timeless musical to life, set to the brilliant sound of Griff Johnson’s band. Despite being close to 25 years since this incarnation first landed in the West End, the production values don’t seem to falter; from the storybook set, to the flawless wigs and the delightful costumes.

The question is, why is it necessary to cram this show full with surplus star names when it remains a crowd-pleasing favourite without them? The majority of the full house at the Empire theatre were there to watch their favourite musical live and not to see the stars cast within it, so can that not be enough? We can’t put our finger on what makes us love this show so much. It’s not the stars we cast or however many exciting new changes we make… it’s the classic story of boy meets girl with a score of infectious finest-karaoke classics. After all, Grease is the Word!


WEDNESDAY 22ND FEBRUARY 2017 – Liverpool Everyman Theatre – Review by Tate James, originally written for The Reviews Hub

The Everyman Theatre is now home to the 14 actors of the new Everyman Company, who are breaking tradition at the prestigious venue with a musical offering in the form of a new production of the Fiddler on the Roof. It seems an alarmingly relevant choice for today’s audiences as we only have to turn on the news to see minority groups forced out of their homes, and how family bonds must strengthen as the wider world outside draws closer and more real.

The 1964 musical by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick focuses on the traditional Jewish values of family life in the Russian settlement of Anatevka, as poor Tevye and his wife, Golde, raise their five daughters and plan to marry them well, with the help of the Matchmaker. As the outside world threatens to upset the traditions of their small town, the young daughters seek to choose, without the guidance of their parents, and each find a new beau more radical than the last. Tevye must choose between the feelings of the family he has raised and the beliefs he has been raised with, succumbing to a newer society. “Weren’t our old laws once new too?” he asks.

Patrick Brennan leads the company with ease, capturing Tevye’s predicament and spirit while savouring every slither of comedy in Joseph Stein’s incredibly witty book. At his side, Melanie La Barrie is a refreshing Golde, with humour and heart in abundance as she delivers the most honest performance of the night. Her musical theatre background is her greatest asset as she masters acting through song a par above her co stars. Their duet of “Do You Love Me?” is sincere and enchanting.

Laura Dos Santos, Emily Hughes and Zelina Ribeiro are charming in their roles as daughters Tzeitl, Hodel and Chava; and, indeed, the whole cast work hard in their attempt to capture the spirit of Anatevka.

Rising Musical Director George Francis has re-orchestrated the classic score to suit the concise and convincing four-piece band, which brilliantly creates a small-town folk sound to the classic score and compliments the intimate feel of this production. Director Gemma Bodinetz has echoed this in her focus on the family aspect of the piece, simplifying the political aspect of the show to the battle between religious beliefs and emotion. It seems odd in such an understated production that the choreography by Tom Jackson Greaves is so eccentric and unnecessary. Though the wedding scene seems perfectly pitched and well-staged, many of the other musical numbers become full routines with props and quasi-contemporary dance breaks when a much simpler staging from a place of truth and honesty would have sufficed.

The cast of actors have been hand selected from across the country and, though they act brilliantly, it is a risky manoeuvre to expose them so obviously when their dance and vocal ability as an ensemble are not quite up to sustaining such a large musical aspect. It will be interesting to see this production again in June once the actors are more comfortable as musical theatre performers.

True to form, the Everyman is breaking new ground with their rep company, however shaky the start, and the upcoming more traditional plays hold much promise as the 14 talented actors grow closer as a unit. To quote Tevye, “Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof”.


MONDAY 20TH FEBRUARY 2017 – Liverpool Empire Theatre – Review by Tate James, originally written for West End Wilma

Despite its thoroughly modern title, Thoroughly Modern Millie is a good old-fashioned throw back to a simpler time in musical theatre, with a feel of Singing in the Rain and 42nd street.

Set in 1922, Millie Dillmount leaves her small town home in Kansas for the Big Apple on her quest to become a modern woman and marry her boss once she actually gets a job, claiming “love has nothing to do with it”. Millie and her new friend, former heiress Miss Dorothy, room at the Hotel Priscilla, a boarding house for young girls, under the all-too-watchful eye of hotel owner Mrs Meers.  In a farce-like state of affairs, Meers is actually a criminal mastermind and former vaudeville star who ships girls with no family off into the White Slave Trade in Hong Kong. Of course, it’s the 1920s so love has everything to do with it, and Millie discovers her love in the shape of paperclip salesman Jimmy Smith, as she learns to love green glass, even if it doesn’t turn out to be emerald.

Ever since Thoroughly Modern Millie burst onto the big screen in 1967 starring Julie Andrews, it has been a star vehicle for every leading lady to don the flapper dress and bob. The role in the original 2002 Broadway production was passed from Kristen Chenoweth to Erin Dilly during workshops before Sutton Foster was plucked from the ensemble to take over. It was Amanda Holden’s turn in the original West End production until understudy Donna Steele was thrust to stardom. And now on this new UK Tour it is time for a new star to be born.

Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer Joanne Clifton proves to be a triple threat as Millie: the incredible dancing we’ve come to know on Saturday evenings matched with impressive pipes in her big numbers and real gumption in her acting scenes. She captures the essence of Millie, and carries the entire production with her energy and warmth.

Graham MacDuff as Millie’s authoritative boss Mr Trevor Graydon the Third gives Clifton a run for her money and steals the limelight in a series of brilliantly delivered comic songs and routines, but watch out for his drunk scene – a highlight! Sam Barrett gives us a very young but charming Jimmy Smith; Katherine Glover is sweet as pie with a gorgeous soprano as the beautiful and innocent Miss Dorothy; and Jenny Fitzpatrick delivers the powerhouse vocals and Hollywood charm of Muzzy Van Hossmere with style.

It is only Michelle Collins who doesn’t live up to the finesse of her co-stars, nailing neither her american accent or the required affected chinese accent that is her disguise as Mrs Meers. Indeed, with hammed up voice and eccentric gestures in her kimono and chopsticks, she reads more as Widow Twankey than the true villain of this, otherwise well cast, musical.

Director and Choreographer Racky Plews presents us with some fun dance routines and makes use of the basic set design, but does need to rein in the eccentric gesticulation from most of the cast members. This show may be written as a pastiche to old fashioned musicals but it is was most definitely written for a contemporary audience and so greater care could have been spent in telling the farce-like comedy story, especially in the complicated slave-trade storyline, though that fault is shared with Collins. Thankfully, Clifton and MacDuff were able to drive it through whenever the pace began to drag.

The sound of the roaring twenties, though, is tangible with the eight-piece band, under the direction and supervision of Rob Wicks, playing Jeanine Tesori’s Tony-nominated jazz score brilliantly, setting the tone from the first note of the overture until the final bow.

The infectious energy of this charming musical will certainly have you tapping your feet and whistling as you leave the theatre, and, although the production values may be more like green glass, Joanne Clifton sparkles like an emerald!


WEDNESDAY 14TH NOVEMBER 2017 – Liverpool Playhouse Theatre – Review by Tate James, originally written for The Reviews Hub

It is 150 years since the theatre we know today opened its doors as the Star Music Hall and, to celebrate the anniversary, the Liverpool Playhouse have made the Star the titular character of their Christmas offering as they invite us all to step back to the days of Variety with magic, comedy and many a sing-along ditty in true Music Hall style.

Taking us back in time is The Chairman, the harried master of ceremonies played by the charismatic Michael Starke. As he introduces the cast of caricatures, the action flips from on stage to back stage with the threat of the theatre’s closure from its new mysterious owner, a budding romance between the young stage hand and the dresser and an old flame returned to grace the stage once more.

Leading lady Eithne Browne has heart and humour as Dame Ellen, the ageing chanteuse whose every performance could be her last. She meets her match with the return of Michelle Butterfly’s Ida Valentine, complete with over-the-top costumes, saucy cabaret numbers and and regular flow of tongue-in-cheek remarks to the audience. Helen Carter and Jack Rigby bring lovely romance in the sub-plot that outshines the bigger plot, as the underdog (Carter) takes to the stage discovering both her confidence and her true love in a rousing rendition of Burlington Bertie from Bow, just one of the many traditional Music Hall numbers crammed into this production that you’ll be surprised you know.

This “Entertainment”, as writer Michael Wynne chooses to describe it, is not complex or thought-provoking, nor does it try to be. It does what the Music Hall would to do in its glory days: it takes us away from everyday life to smile, laugh and sing along with songs that have outlived the Music Hall itself.


TUESDAY 24TH JANUARY 2017 – Empire Theatre, Liverpool – Review by Tate James, originally written for West End Wilma

It is hard to believe that Evita was first released as a concept album in 1976. Over forty years later and Bill Kenwright’s current touring production feels eerily relevant in a world where the news is dominated by politics and unlikely ascensions to power. Tim Rice’s lyrics, such as political leaders opposing “Foreign domination of our industries” and Officers spouting “One always picks the easy fight”, are sadly not unfamiliar nowadays.

Evita follows working class Eva Duarte from her humble beginning’s in Junín, Argentina, to becoming the first Lady of Argentina. Shunned by the middle classes who were threatened by her arrival in their circles, adored by the working classes who revered her as a Saint; still to this day it is unclear if she was, on the whole, a blessing or a curse on Argentina. What is clear is that her ambition and drive allowed her to escalate through the ranks of society with impressive speed to become the Voice and Heart of a nation, before her untimely death at the age of 33.

Following in the footsteps of Elaine Paige, Patti LuPone and even Madonna in the 1996 movie adaptation, it is Emma Hatton’s turn to don the bleach blonde wig and win our hearts, just as Eva won the nation’s. Hatton excels in her fresh and calculated delivery of Eva. Her time as Leading Lady in the West End production of Wicked shines through in her ability to maintain the ambitious young girl throughout her transformation into the most powerful woman in the country. Though it is her voice that seals the deal. Her powerhouse delivery of “Buenos Aires” and “Rainbow High” are an exciting contrast to the subtle beauty of her renditions of “You Must Love Me” and the iconic “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina”.

Kevin Stephen-Jones is her perfect match as Perón, with a beautiful baritone voice and commanding performance, and Gian Marco Schiaretti as the enigmatic Ché, is every bit the leading man we all want to see. Statuesque and exotic; he grabs our attention from the first scene and narrates Eva’s journey with a blend of mystery and aggression, seemingly the only one to question her motives to her face.

The incredibly talented cast are led by the skilled musical direction of David Steadman, who brings out every flavour in Lloyd Webber’s rich and luxurious score, from the latin sounds of the argentine tango to choral requiem, rock and beautiful ballads, and even in the dissonant sounds of the sung through dialogue. This musical was most definitely conceived during Lloyd Webber’s finest years and, though there are some scenes where the politics overpowers the melody, director Bob Tomson has done a fine job in keeping the motives clear but the pace moving along.

In this production, Kenwright has mastered how to present a UK Tour, with a large ensemble wearing an endless display of costumes, an impressively simplistic set used to its full capabilities and the addition of a chorus of local children and supernumerary actors to build the crowd scenes seamlessly. Unlike many touring productions, this does not feel scaled down, but rather, it feels like it was designed to fit the vast auditorium of the Liverpool Empire Theatre.

Whether you loved Michelle Obama or turn your gaze to Melania Trump, the role of the first lady is both influential and iconic, not just in the country which their husband governs, but the world over; and this tale of the impact of one such first lady is well worth a trip to see.

As Perón sings “can you recall the last time they loved anyone at all?”


TUESDAY 17TH JANUARY 2017 – Empire Theatre, Liverpool – Review by Tate James, originally written for West End Wilma

This week, the most aggressive of musical theatre comedies has rocked and rolled into the Liverpool Empire. Following a successful run of over two years at the Palace Theatre in London’s West End, the show has embarked on its first UK Tour.

The Commitments is based on the 1987 novel of the same name and the movie adaptation from 1991, and all of these incarnations were penned by Roddy Doyle. It tells the story of a gaggle of foul-mouthed misfits from the North Side of Dublin in the mid-1980s. Band Manager, Jimmy, aims to bring the soul revolution to the bars and clubs of Dublin, and so instils his passion for the genre into all of the dysfunctional band members he accrues; from the erratic leading man whose voice carries the whole group, to the bible-bashing lover-man trumpeter who works his way through the three female backing singers. As expected, this collection of loose cannons makes for explosive energy in the band and ultimately they go their separate ways.

Brian Gilligan as lead singer Deco is, rightly, the star of the show. He flits without warning from the lazy and awkward band member in rehearsals to the manic and wild man-behind-the-microphone. However, when casting this role you must tempt the audience to forgive Deco’s bad behaviour when they hear him sing, and Gilligan delivers impressive vocals in bucketloads. Andrew Linnie, as Jimmy, keeps the show moving along in a confident and natural portrayal of the master of ceremonies, mentor and peace-keeper. In fact, the whole cast work hard and deliver powerhouse vocals.

The problem with the show is that, in its translation from screen to stage, the story has fallen by the wayside in favour of packing in as many songs as possible, with the necessary information conveyed in short and stinted scenes to link them. The numbers do not further the characters’ journey; they are all slotted in as performance pieces by the make-believe band, and are often followed by huge dramatic outbursts, arguments and full-out brawls that seem to manifest out of nowhere once the well-deserved applause has settled. There is not enough room in the limited script for the rest of the bandmates and the minor characters in the show to develop.

Similarly, the translation from London to Tour has not been so successful, with a number of clunky set changes and sound issues. They do not ruin the evening but contribute to the disruptions to the flow of the performance, especially in the first act.

The saving grace is that, while the scenes are not the strongest, the music includes some of the greatest songs ever written, and it is the soul sound that makes the show work and propel the audience to their feet at the end. In fact, the moment when the show is most successful is in the final fifteen minutes, when it finally succumbs to pressure and gives us the concert performance we have been teased with throughout.

With the opportunity to sing and dance along to some of their favourite songs including Mustang Sally, Proud Mary and Try A Little Tenderness, fans of the cult movie will not be disappointed.


THURSDAY 8TH DECEMBER 2016 – Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester – Review by Tate James, originally written for The Reviews Hub

This musical theatre comedy makes a sweet Christmas treat at the Royal Exchange. When Sweet Charity burst onto the Broadway Stage in the 60s, it encapsulated the spirit of the decade and, 50 years later, it still charms and delights as we follow our happy-go-lucky heroine: Charity Hope Valentine. With tattooed heart on her arm and metaphorical heart on her sleeve, she dreams of leaving her job as a gentlemen’s club dancer to live the perfect married life.

Director Derek Bond’s work is a masterclass in how to stage musical theatre in the round, maximising the use of James Perkins’ classy set design and enjoying every moment of comedy in Neil Simon’s book. Under the musical supervision and direction of Nigel Lilley and Mark Aspinall respectively, Cy Coleman’s brassy jazz score is brought to life by the 9-strong band and the incredible vocal prowess of the talented company. Previous incarnations of Sweet Charity bring to mind the abstract and wonderful choreographic imagery of Bob Fosse’s work. As Fosse did before her, Aletta Collins’ new exciting choreography adds an edgy realism to the story, bringing to life every nuance in the music.

Bob Harms as Latin Lothario Vittorio Vidal is on fine form in pink, with stunning vocals and comedic timing, and Daniel Crossley is utterly charming as Oscar. Holly Dale Spencer’s Nickie plays mother and best pal with real heart and Josie Benson’s rendition of Rhythm of Life as Daddy is outstanding.

The success of this particular musical is, however, down to its leading lady and the Royal Exchange has pulled a Christmas Cracker this year in Kaisa Hammarlund as Charity. Commanding the role, with an audience in the palm of her every jazz-hand, Hammarlund sings and dances beautifully around the circular space with grace and wild abandon in equal measure, as she captures the essence of Charity and the hearts of the audience.

You don’t need to be a Big Spender to enjoy this superb adaptation that is guaranteed to send you home with a tingle in your fingers and a tingle in your feet.


SATURDAY 3RD DECEMBER 2016 – Unity Theatre, Liverpool – Review by Tate James, originally written for The Reviews Hub.

This festive family offering is a treat from the minute we enter the woods until we leave at the end, humming the tunes. The Unity Theatre is transformed into a dark and mysterious forest direct from the pages of a storybook in a witty and intelligent production that engages adult and child alike.

In the hands of four perfectly-pitched performers we are taken on a fast-paced musical journey through the woods. We all know the story: with her mother’s directions to never stray from the path, Little Red takes a pie to her sick grandmother and happens across a wolf en route. Luca Rutherford’s Little Red is brave and sweet as the pie she carries, in her adamance that she is not a little girl. Natalia Campbell and Simone Lewis (excellent as Mother and Grandma respectively) play matriarch and more as they dance with trees, howl and worry about our young heroine. Harvey Robinson is every bit the suave wolf who charms Little Red, with extra quirk as he insists on the pleasantries and customs of human beings’ mealtime.

Kevin Dyer’s script is tickled with humour and nuance, mirrored by Patrick Dineen’s charming original music. There is no room for twee dialogue or sickly sweet Pantomime-sounding melodies in this show. Instead, under Nina Hajiyianni’s skilful direction, it alludes to Lemony Snicket and Roald Dahl with its ability to stimulate its young audience. Sydonie Paterson’s design is simple but enchanting, paired with Julie Kearney’s bold lighting design, to create a versatile woodland space, making the setting extra-magical. The creation of the path and chases through the woods are particular highlights, and even the moments for children’s participation are well-timed and thoroughly entertaining, never obvious or generic.

Whether or not you have plans with your youngsters this Christmas, you should definitely stray from the path to visit the Unity… but watch out for wolves!

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST – The Everyman Rock ‘N’ Roll Panto

WEDNESDAY 30TH NOVEMBER 2016 – Everyman Liverpool – Review by Tate James, originally written for The Reviews Hub.

If you seek singing teapots and a mob of angry villagers then this is not the night for you. If you seek a multi-talented cast to make you laugh and wow with impressive vocals then the Everyman’s Alternative Christmas offering could be.

There’s Belle, a magical rose and a Beast transformed by the spell of an evil witch, a spell which only True Love’s Kiss can lift. That is where the similarities with the tale of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ we know end, as the Souvenir Programme foreword confesses. In this version, Belle is our Dame, the heroine’s mother, stranded on an island with only her Brother-In-Law Sebastian and a fearsome Beast. The Beast is King Tyrell, punished by the evil witch Narcissus, desperate to rule over the mortal and fairy worlds combined. With no enchanted crockery in sight, the powers of good come from a group of fairies watching over the helpless mortals. There’s a magic mirror, the pool of life, fairy moon cycles, growth potions, the list goes on… So it is easy to understand why some of the younger audience members struggle to keep up with the intricate storyline in the first half. Thankfully the second half brings us more of the silliness we’d expect: slapstick, shout outs, brilliantly unnecessary musical outbursts and the all important (say it with me) “Audience Participation Bit”.

The Everyman has assembled a wonderful cast of actor-musicians to delight their audiences this year, with many of the 10-strong company playing multiple instruments alongside their accomplished singing prowess. Stephanie Hockley as our heroine Rose White is every bit the perfect Panto Princess, in fine voice and utterly charming next to the towering stature of Raj Paul’s Beast. Adam Keast and Francis Tucker, as camp comic and butch Dame respectively, present much of the evening’s comedy, culminating in a highly amusing Identical-Twins-Reunited sequence. Their constant stream of effortless innuendo slips right over the heads of the younger ones and knocks right into the funny bones of the older ones. Lucy Thatcher’s evil queen is beautifully wicked and her yellow-clad bewitched sidekick, Tom Connor as Sir Cyril of the Wirral, plays his part and his electric guitar with great skill. Lauren Silver’s good fairy brings a magical warmth to proceedings and the talented ensemble is rounded off with excellent cameos from Danny Burns and Emmy Stonelake in a multitude of roles providing some of the standout moments of the night. Watch out for Stonelake’s Magic Mirror and soul-filled rendition of “Proud Mary”.

Dinah England’s design is exquisite, each fabulous costume more silly and extravagant than the last and the multipurpose set bedecked in twinkling lights boasts an accessible area for the musicians to come and go between their acting scenes, a constant reminder of how important music is in this Rock ’n’ Roll extravaganza. Under Greg Last’s direction, the musical arrangements are intelligent and impressive, even if there are a few too many songs, particularly in the long first half. The joy of pantomime is its decision not to take itself too seriously and for the silliness to out-balance the plot. This production has all of the right ingredients and though the final potion is delightful, the spell is over-complicated.

As Fairy Poppy says “All it takes is True Love’s Kiss… so get stuck in”



TUESDAY 22ND NOVEMBER 2016 – The Dome Theatre, Grand Central Hall – Review by Tate James

I light of recent world events (The Scottish Referendum, Brexit and the American election to name a few), as a nation, we have never been more politically active. Those who would usually have taken no interest in elections, voting and government are standing up to have their vote counted and let their voice be heard. And it is with this spirit that the Lantern Theatre has been able to produce such an impressive contemporary revival of Anthony Cullen’s “Scouse: A Comedy of Terrors”.

In the able hands of Margaret Connell and Mike Noble, this production masters the hardcore subject matter with precision, wit and the omni-present Scouse sense of humour. Amid the abundance of facts about the city’s history, culture and impact on the wider nation, we are presented with a struggling Liverpool, as men struggle to find work and Liverpool People’s Party activists seek independence from the United Kingdom. From rumblings of political disconcert to protest and riot, it is hard to see at what point the fighting stops being defensive and starts to be offensive.

The talented cast of ten are led by the passions of the eloquent activist-with-a-heart Tom, played with gusto by Peter Washington. With the bulk of Cullen’s factual dialogue written for Tom to deliver, Washington gives an empowered performance with the obvious weight of Liverpool’s woes on his shoulders. As the tired wife, Kath, Jackie Jones delivers some of the more tender moments of the show with heart, being dealt blow after blow at the hands of her family’s political beliefs. Completing a not-so-typical but easily recognisable Liverpool Household are daughter, Susan, and son, Ben, played by Katie King and James Ledsham respectively. While Ledsham’s confident Ben gets carried away in the excitement of rebellion in their created dystopia, Susan is the constant reminder that all acts of mutiny are a means to an end to achieve their own utopia. King’s skilful portrayal is one of the standout performances of the night.

The supporting cast work incredibly hard, all taking on multiple roles within the company. Reg Edwards as Macka is brilliantly entertaining, not least as the stalker and soldier. Joining the rebellion are Curtis Watt, as Clive, and James McMartin, as Big Frank, whose changing room banter provides much of the evening’s comedy, carrying through into their many cameo roles. Michael Hawkins as Darren is charming and versatile, and Nicola Ferguson as Lisa, brings a realisation of the consequences of insurrection and one of the evening’s most powerful lines: “Terrorism – a way for people who aren’t outstanding to stand out”.

Tart-with-a-heart Tracey, played to great effect by Louise Garcia, presents us with our stereo-typical Scouse girl in a collection of suitably obnoxious costumes, one of the highlights of Sean Gibbons’ skilful and subtle Costume design. Garcia balances the difficult personal issues Tracey must face with her witty one liners and a true Liverpool realism and acceptance.

Since the closure of the Lantern Theatre in July, its resident team have been able to take up shop in other locations, including the Epstein & Unity Theatres. Now they have transformed the Dome Theatre in Grand Central Hall, with their inventive monochrome set by Jocelyn Meall complete with a lone purple wheely-bin and a brilliant surround sound design by Tom Evans, complimenting the circular auditorium and echoing the play’s feeling of being caught right in the middle of the conflict.

The beauty of this particular piece is its relevance to the world we live in today. Scarily plausible, it asks us to consider what we’re fighting for and not just what we’re fighting against. With “Scouse”, the Lantern continues its bold and daring journey as an powerful independent force in Liverpool’s Theatre Circuit.

“Evil triumphs when good men do nothing”

“No, evil triumphs when good men join in”