Billy Liar

Written by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
Directed by Phil Willmott
Liverpool Playhouse, 3rd-25th February 2006

Reviewed by Jane Scott

Growing up being constantly mithered by dreary parents is enough to turn anyone into a fantasist. Billy (Michael Imerson) is such a fellow; ground down each day by being told how grateful he should be for everything they’ve done for him. But Billy bounces back, inventing wild and shocking tales to enliven his days and get back at the nagging, dull array of people that surround him.

Billy's fantasies float from being an award-winning scriptwriter to a world famous band leader to being the son of an amputee, winning the hearts of three different women in the process. But slowly his lies are confronted by reality.

Although entertaining and funny, the dialogue can be unmercifully constant and quick-fire, and the most of the characters are full of moaning and complaining. There were some quiet moments full of tension or grief that brought a magical sparkle to the theatre. I would have liked to have seen more of these charged pauses. Imerson, David Hounslow (Billy’s dad) and Victoria Gee (Billy’s uptight girlfriend) put in good performances and the stage design is excellent.

Printer friendly page