Hope Place

Liverpool Everyman
Written by Michael Wynne
Directed by Rachel Kavanaugh
Until 31st May 2014

Reviewed by Colin Serjent
Photograph by Jonathan Keenan

National press critics have raved about this play, suggesting that it represents an authentic portrayal of a working class family in Liverpool, brought up on Hope Place, which runs off Hope Street.

Sorry, it came across to me like a long drawn out episode of Bread (featuring the Boswell family), set in Dingle, Liverpool, which was a BBC TV sitcom broadcast in the 1980s. Funnily enough one episode was entitled 'The Boswell Dinner Table', and similarly Hope Place takes place at the Burns family's dinner table throughout this over-extended two hour production.

The acting by the cast was often wooden, the dialogue contrived and the representation of Liverpool-based characters stereotypical. At one point Jack (Joe McGann - one of the McGann brothers) walks on stage wearing a Sgt. Pepper outfit!

Like Bread the drama centred around a Liverpool family constantly bickering, following the death of the matriarch.

Writer Michael Wynne, leading up to the opening of his commissioned play, spoke about the use of the Liverpool dialect in the production. What does he mean? You know what I mean like!

Why does every acting role of a Liverpool-born character that appears on stage at the Playhouse and Everyman, always has to have a broad scouse accent? It just serves to reinforce the jaundiced view outsiders have of Liverpool people and the way they speak.

One particular cringeworthy character was the oral historian, Simon (Ciaran Kellgren), the 'posh guy' from the Wirral - yet another stereotype - interviewing the family about their recollections of their lives in the city.

I used to manage an oral history unit in Toxteth and there is no way at all you would conduct interviews in the abject way Simon did as shown in Hope Place..

One redeeming feature was the character Maggie, played well by Eileen O'Brien, notably when she gazed upon flashbacks of herself as a child in the house she still lives in. Maggie had lived life tormented by a tragic incident since that time.

Hope Place is set in a kitchen but this was bad kitchen sink drama!

Printer friendly page

Sorry Comments Closed