Liverpool Royal Court Theatre
25th January to 10th February 2018
By Finvola Dunphy
Her Benny is a beloved musical which made its debut in Liverpool to packed-out theatres 25 years ago. The show brings to life Silas K. Hocking’s novel about two slum children, Benny and his sister Nell, forced to flee their violent home. The pair are rescued by the endearing Sally and Joe Wragg who provide them with moral guidance and independence. This heart-warming Victorian tale has filled audiences with tears, laughter and joy since the beginning. With bold Dickensian characters, the show has often been described as the ‘Oliver’ of the North.
Writer and Director, Anne Dalton says: “I can’t believe it’s been 25 years! What more could I ask for? This anniversary production of Liverpool’s favourite book being performed by an exceptional cast in a wonderful theatre in its spiritual home. It doesn’t get better than this!”
The 25th Anniversary sees a masterful musical score with elevated orchestration brought to life by talented and revered vocalists. The vibrant opening number plunges us into the hustle and bustle of Victorian Liverpool streets accompanied by lively, energetic movement.
Peter Brindle plays the amicable Joe Wragg and says: “I love his overall persona. He is warm, loving and caring although he goes through his own tough times. It’s an honour to take on such a role.” His companion, Sally Wragg is played by Janet Cowley whose effortless vocals provide a comforting relief from the poverty and illness that permeated the streets of Victorian England. Whilst, loveable characters such as Sniffer, Benny’s dear friend and Mr and Mrs Fisher from the farm where Benny grows up, bring a timely touch of humour and joviality to the stage.
Dalton remarked, “The whole experience of sensing an audience living each moment of the show makes ‘Her Benny’ so special to me.”
Opening in Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre from 25th January to 10th February 2018, ‘Her Benny’ is truly a comforting family show that will invoke feelings of sympathy, heartache, elation and sheer joy. It enables us to imagine the compromises to our own moral compass when faced with all aspects of social, political and economic hardship.