Overall Rating: 5 Stars *****
What a show!
Entertaining, well acted and utterly bonkers with a captivating interpretation of Shakespeare’s comedy with an 80s twist.
The impressive Shakespeare North’s venue in Prescot, Liverpool is awe inspiring and spine tingling for any theatre buff. Walking into the fresh smell of carved wood and taking your seats in The Cockpit feels sensational. No matter where you sit, stage level, first or second floor balcony you have an amazing view of the performance you are about to witness. All because you are sitting around a replica of The Globe Theatre which has its stage in the centre of the auditorium (called the round) with the audience sitting around the stage. Animatedly and somewhat passionately, I informed my husband that if this was in Shakespearean times we, in the cockpit, would be referred to as groundlings (the cheap seats although there were no seats) who would throw rotten fruit and veg at the actors if we didn’t like the acting or the plot whilst the richer patrons would sit on the first or second floor balconies. The richer patrons had the luxury of a partially covered roof so the higher up you went the more shelter you received from weather. You did have cushions through whereas the groundlings had to stand for hours during performances. Mad isn’t it how this is now the reverse and centre stalls are the most prestigious seats?
The marketing team ensured that Press Night on 7th March went smoothly. You were immediately made to feel welcome and given a complimentary drink and programme. Something that The Epstein Theatre, Liverpool email@example.com also do well and have done for quite some considerable time. Representatives from local and national media were present however I got the distinct impression that even if they weren’t there, staff would be equally as smiley, attentive and helpful. Infact, I will try out this hypothesis this weekend as I intend to take my daughters to see this amazing performance again as my husband and I enjoyed it so much!
Shakespeare can often be daunting and subsequently off-putting for modern audiences however this adaptation preserved Shakespeares’ plot whilst removing much of the misogynistic ideas that were prevalent during time. Clever writing by Elizabeth Godber and Nick Lane brought this comedic tale of a mother whose twins were separated at birth and managed to find their way back to each other.
With a War of The Roses, a strong feisty feminist rather than a subservient Luciana and a realignment of politics all thrown to together with a heady mix of an 80s vibe with magnificent 80s music (you are given a song sheet upon entering the theatre) it was an exceptionally fun night and a wonderful way of engaging audiences with Shakespeare’s work.
All of the actors were sensational and worthy of not one but both standing ovations they received however, particular credit must be heaped upon Alyce Liburd (Adriana) and Ida Regan (Luciana) for not only their delivery of lines but also the contorted face pulling and expressions during the execution of their lines and demeanour when not centre stage.
Lovers of the Bard’s classics will be disappointed though; however if you are a thespian or true lover of literature then it is always good to be open minded to new interpretations and adaptations.
I implore you to visit this venue which is a jewel in Merseyside’s crown and purchase tickets for this outstanding show which runs until 25th March 2023.
Tickets can be bought by contacting the Shakespeare North Playhouse on 0151 433 7156