The Kindness of Strangers
Written by Tony Green
The Everyman Theatre, 24 Sept - 16 Oct 2004
The same week that Liverpool's acclaimed Everyman theatre celebrates
its 40th birthday sees the opening of the world premier of The Kindness
of Strangers, the first major staged work by local writer Tony Green.
The first play in the "Life Begins" season celebrating the theatre's
The Kindness of Strangers is a slice of life play set in the Liverpool
of today, where a mixed bag of characters, some local and some who have
ended up here from one place or another, strangers whose lives begin to
From businessman Sam, for whom no money is too dirty, Macey the prostitute
who just wants to look after her kids, to the troubled Irish girl Cheryl.
The play's core though is the music act formed as a means to survive by
a group of new asylum seekers in Liverpool; Mohamed, a new and hopeful
Kurdish refugee, Behrouz, enthusiastic to integrate into "scouse
culture" even if it means buying Liverpool and Everton shirts, to
the older Samir who despairs at his reduced position in life and the actions
of his fellow migrants.
The central story of the play is Mohamed's attempt to gain UK residency
by marrying an English girl, but will a "business transaction"
turn into something more.
At first some of the characters seem two dimensional stereotypes but
all develop and this could be the play's strength as it makes you think
about stereotypes and identity, not just those leveled at outsiders to
Liverpool and Britain, but their beliefs about us, some wild and some
a little more accurate.
The Kindness of Strangers manages to be both very funny, some of the
set pieces are hilarious in particular the womble serenade, and also at
times quite poignant and moving. Good social commentary on today's society
without laying it on with a trowel.
Stand out performances come from veteran Tom Georgeson as Sam and newcomer
Lorraine Burroughs as Macey, while Brookside's Diane Burke puts in a good
turn playing three different characters.
There are few bad points about this play but it might not be for you
if you are easily offended. If this work is anything to go by the Everyman
should go from strength to strength.