The Electric Hills

Written by Michael McLean, Directed by Nick Bagnall
Everyman Theatre (9th-31st March 2007)

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This premiere of the first play by young Liverpool writer Michael McLean failed to engage me, mainly because I felt no empathy with any of the characters - they were all so one-dimensional.

In essence the plot revolves around a washed up former pop star Ricky (Louis Emerick). As a member of a band, he had a one hit wonder in the 1980s, he now stages tacky discos in social clubs to make a living. Out of the blue former bandmate Richard (Dave Fishley) turns up and creates conflict within Ricky's family - partner Joanne (Claire Keelan) and daughter Kelisha (Azuka Orforka) - after a flawed past is uncovered.

At the end of the play I was left wondering what McLean - a graduate of the Everyman and Playhouse Young Writers Programme - was attempting to say. Broken dreams, lost dreams, superficiality of 'pop stardom', et al. It's all been said before so many times...

An annoying aspect of this play, as is often the case with other plays starring Liverpool-based characters, is why they always have to have broad scouse accents. Not everyone walks around the city sounding like Margi Clarke or Harry Enfield's 'calm down!' scousers.

The publicity blurb describes The Electric Hills as an offbeat comedy drama. A better definition would be off kilter.

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