In the week of St Patrick’s Day it was fitting to be able to review the shenanigans of Irish Annie’s and meet the landlady (Catherine Rice) and her regulars in her bar – Irish Annie’s.
This is fun light hearted play with an undertone of community spirit and looking out for one another regardless of whether you are a local or not. A reminder of the moral message for us all to realign moral compass.
Seamus Murphy (Asa Murphy) was the absolute star of the show and kept the play moving along with his narrative and questioning of Annie which seamlessly led onto either a song or an explanation of the tale. Murphy’s voice was pure and melodic as he played his guitar and led the pub (a sold out show – audience) in a sing along of many Irish tunes. It was helpful that upon entering the foyer, patrons were all given a song sheet prior to taking their seats. Asa Murphy is a seasoned professional entertainer and now a writer of musical theatre who is well aware of what an audience (especially a Liverpool audience with high standards) have come to expect and… he delivered!
Catherine Rice adeptly portrayed a fun loving matriarchal stereotypical pub landlady. She convincingly engaged with her customers and knew about their lives. Rice was energetic on stage leading the Irish jigs whilst encouraging her customers (fellow actors and audience) to get involved with the sing along. This was her pub’s party and she wanted everyone to have a good time and get involved!. .
Particularly notable credit needs to go to Sam Conlon (Noel) for his breathtaking, spine tingling rendition of Danny Boy. When his character started singing, the entire audience forfeited joining in as he soared with raw passion. He was deservedly given a standing ovation by the audience as his voice was so unbelievably good. Pauline Donovan (Moira the money lender) also gave a stellar performance as she demonstrated excellent pitch and tone with her velvety voice.
Ricky Tomlinson who played himself as the quizmaster interacted with the audience however I would have liked his contribution to the play to have been more significant, given he was billed as the star attraction and has given numerous interviews on TV promoting the show. Billy Butler also played himself and his appeal to the Liverpool audience was popular and apparent. His peripheral performance was funny and humbling especially when he recited a hilarious poem that received rapturous applause.
The band, aptly named Shenanigans were also impressive and befitting of quality musicians for the play.
If you want a night of comedy, singing and dancing to Irish music (Galway Shawl, Tell Me Ma, Dirty Old Town, Whiskey In The Jar, Danny Boy and many more) then book tickets for the remaining matinee or evening performances of the tour as you won’t be disappointed!.
How to book:
Book online: www.epsteintheatre.co.uk 24/7
Telephone bookings: 0344 7360151
In person: The Epstein Theatre Box Office is open two hours prior to the performance time and from 12-6pm on Saturday. Please note there is a £1 per ticket transaction fee when booking in person at the box office.
Saturday 19th March 2023 – 2.30pm & 7.30p – Stalls: £23, Circle: £21
Epstein Theatre, 85 Hanover Street, Liverpool, L1 3DZ