The May Queen

Written by Stephen Sharkey, Directed by Serdar Bilis
Liverpool Everyman (4th-26th May 2007)

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

Following her outstanding performance in Unprotected at the Everyman last year, young Liverpool actress Leanne Best - who looks destined to attain great acclaim in the theatre world for her acting prowess - is charismatic in the role of Theresa Donohue, in this tragic tale set during the 1942 blitz in Liverpool.

The play also saw the return to a Liverpool stage, after a long absence, of Cathy Tyson, who plays Angela, Theresa'a mother.

There is no love lost between these two characters, in fact it borders on hatred. "I regret the day I came out from between your legs", screams Theresa to her beleaguered mum, who has lost her husband Frank, apparently killed in a bombing raid by the Germans, and her son Michael (Mark Arends) - believed to have perished in France while serving in the army.

But all is not what it appears to be. Frank has been murdered by Vinnie (Niall Refoy), after the former discovered him in bed with Angela, and Michael, well, he is not dead.

There is a very intimate feel about the production, with what looks like a dark slagheap, with a cave opening at the back of the stage, and various actors running from and to the stage amid the audience. The actors also, at times, encroached to within touching distance of the spectators.

The wrath of God is ever present in the play, causing acute guilt, in particular to Angela, who is a devout Catholic. Revenge for misdeeds done by several of the characters is also high on the agenda, along with anguished torment, which results in a blood-filled finale.

If for no other reason, go and visit this play to see the highly talented Leanne - the world is her oyster.

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Comment left by Alex Binder on 11th May, 2007 at 15:04
In your review of The Electric Hills you object to the characters walking "around the city sounding like Margi Clarke or Harry Enfield's 'calm down!' scousers". Even though only the only character to have a strong Liverpool accent in that play had it for a reason and was called a "scally" by another character for doing so. Interesting to note that despite this you are then full of praise for an atractive white young actress with an incredibly broad Liverpool accent, almost identical to Margi Clarke's, even in a play set when no Liverpudlians spoke in that way.

Comment left by Colin Serjent on 11th May, 2007 at 15:17
Fair point about Leanne and Margi. Not sure though whether no Liverpudlian spoke with a broad scouse accent during the Second World War

Comment left by victor charnovsky on 17th May, 2007 at 1:45
What a hopeless review of a play. It reads like a nine year old trying to remember and record the best bits. This does no service to the theatre, the production, or reviewing. Amid your obvious obsession with Leanne, you merely state fragments of action, giving no sense of theme of the play, or quality of execution. You have no grasp of metaphor, and no apparent imagination with which to interpret what has taken place on the stage. IT's not a review as such, and nor is it an adequate synopsis.

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