Royal Court, Liverpool
26th April – 25th May 2019
Reviewed by Jennifer Walker
If you were expecting a lesson in aristocratic habits with the Royal Court’s latest offering, you couldn’t be more wrong. A truly Scouse take on the original premise, where Lizzie Ripon, played by Jessica Dyas, is taught the ways of Scouse by the super Scouse Steph, played by the delightful Helen Carter, in order to win the heart of minted Scouser Higson, played by Danny O Brien. Throw in a dying mother, a father slowing fading and a big inheritance, and you have the makings of a great show!
Mary is the matriarch of the O’Brien family, desperate to see her playboy son settled before she dies. She decides to hold her will as hostage until he finds a nice, obviously Scouse, girl to marry. Julie Glover plays her beautifully, a genuine mum with nothing but the best intentions.
Helen Carter almost stole the show; she is utterly watchable and completely likeable from the moment she steps onto the stage. Her no nonsense, if slightly rough around the edges, Steph caught the Scouse spirit effortlessly.
Michael Starke plays Alf, the husband of Mary and the dad of Higson. Starke is known to be a firm favorite at the Royal Court, where he normally plays its big for the laughs, but as Alf he was simply stunning. He downplayed the role of confused and lost in such a pure way he literally brought tears to my eyes. His one liner after his wife dies is literally the most moving line I’ve ever heard at the Royal Court and captures everything perfectly.
The writer Kevin Fearon can be so proud of that moment captured and explained with beautiful simplicity. A must see show for that wonderful scene alone!