Docks & Rock ‘n’ Roll
Crosby Civic Theatre
22nd November 2010
The family theme starts as we enter Crosby Civic Theatre. Mum, dad and
the kids all seem to be helping out in the foyer. From the stage we are
welcomed into by the McDermott family. Jean, played by Lisa Howard, is
the mum and the narrator, introducing her husband, Ronnie, and grownup
kids. All burst into song, explaining they are a “dysfunctional
Jean’s narrative journey continues as she tells us her whole family
are caught up in the middle of a strike to free Paddy Neary, a seaman
banged up in Brixton Prison for leading a dispute for better conditions.
There’s the dad Ronnie (Dean Nolan), a loveable slob, and Jack (Nigel
Lister), who is trying to form a band, and then there is Barry, who is
“a few rides short of an amusement park”.
Jean invites people in the audience to tell her if they don’t follow
anything that is happening. Someone two rows behind me shouts: “Speak
up I can’t hear you”. Everyone thinks this woman is a plant
in the audience. It becomes clear though that she isn’t, because
she carries on muttering in the background for about ten minutes until
she gets up and leaves. Jean shouts, “come to the front, you can
lip read”. This kind of ‘pantomime’ interplay runs through
the rest of the evening. Proceedings are sort of slow to start, but warm
up as we get into the style of the drama, and the slapstick comedy. By
the end we are rocking in our seats.
There is some cracking music here and the lyrics relate to the theme
of the script. Ronnie sings a chorus “Ignore the party leaders/With
all their dirty fingers in the pie” and we all sing along. Barry
sings: “Everyone thinks this is a guitar but it’s not. Everyone
thinks I’m soft but I’m not”. We all laugh. We don’t
think he’s soft.
Thanks to Boff Whalley from Chumbawamba, who wrote this play and composed
the music, for bringing Crosby this entertaining show.
For more information on Paddy Neary: