Bright Phoenix

Liverpool Everyman
Presented by Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse
Written By Jeff Young
Directed by Serdar Bilis
3rd October - 25th October 2014

Reviewed by Colin Serjent
Photograph by Jonathan Keenan

This compelling production is Jeff Young's heartfelt tribute to Liverpool and its people, possessing a distinct sense of genuine love for the city.

To be honest I did not easily spot the references made to particular genres and artistic creations, but apparently there are nods pertaining to Moulin Rouge, Sondheim and Lord Of The Flies.

There is a surreal and intoxicating quality to Bright Phoenix, constantly switching from one LSD-like trip to another. Fascinating to behold.

Lime Street and the old Futurist cinema are the epitome of the wanton neglect inflicted on Lime Street, by so-called town planners, as well as other areas, including parts of Garston, Speke and along Smithdown Road. I could easily add to this list!

Lucas Firebright (Paul Duckworth) is the scouser returning to his roots after twenty years away, having travelled around several parts of the world, re-uniting, of sorts!, with his old gang of outsiders, street urchins and those who live(d) on the edge of mainstream society.

They don't all welcome him back with open arms - some are hostile to him, - particularly his ex-lover Lizzie Flynn (Penny Layden).

There is a distinct dream-like essence in the presentation, with a series of switches from times past to contemporary days.

The grown-ups now represent themselves as children of yesteryear, which works well.

Notable is the winged Alan 'Icarus' Flynn (Carl Au). Icarus flew too close to the sun, according to Greek mythology. He reminded me of the central character in the film 'Birdy'.

The inclusion of snippets of the film 'A Matter Of Life And Death', starring David Niven, is bewitching, with the children watching it at the old Futurist, with one of them reciting some of the dialogue of Niven as he prepares to die.

Another top- notch production at the new Everyman.

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