The late Tony Furlong – the man who brought us Night Collar – and his friend, Jimmy Powers co-wrote Ale House which is running at The Dome Theatre in Grand Central Hall and together have brought to life a somewhat exaggerated snapshot of what life is like behind and in front of the pumps of a typical local, well, Ale House on New Year’s Day
Although not exactly an original portrait, Ale House nevertheless does provide a lot of laughs and mayhem that audiences of comedies such as The Salon, Two, Dirty Dusting and Bouncers will lap up, although even by the standards of these plays the language is somewhat riper.
The action is loud and bawdy, with the impressive set being used to the full. Indeed, the entire hall is used at one point when the Fashion Victim, Laser Tanned, Strut Meister that is Yogi – so called because nobody can bear him – played by Phil Olivier makes his entrance. That Yogi is all bluster and no substance is immediately obvious, but his comeuppance is a thing of beauty when it does finally arrive.
Lindzi Germain as the brash-but-caring Lucy delivers on all fronts as usual and particularly during her opening near-stand up salvo which sets the tone for what’s to follow brilliantly. She also demonstrates that she can more than hold a note, with her musical talents joining that of her comedic skills faultlessly on occasions.
Jake Abrahams, too, as the Tourette’s afflicted Trevor is a joy to watch perform which is sadly not enough, whereas James McMartin’s Robbo is somebody everybody will recognise as the “guy at the end of the bar”.
With these fine stalwarts on stage, it is something of a nice surprise to find that somebody who may not be quite so familiar to Liverpool audiences, Kivan Dene, who really steals the plaudits. His multi-roled performance is excellent but he particularly comes to the fore as Les thanks to his slick interactions with Bernie Foley as Nelly which are quite simply comedy gold.
Brash and boisterous, yes indeed and definitely not for the easily offended, but Ale House never the less delivers exactly what it says on the beer can and is one that will have the locals hoping last orders is a good way off.
The Dome, Grand Central Hall, Renshaw Street, Liverpool
Authors: Tony Furlong & Jimmy Powers
Cast: Lindzi Germain, Jake Abraham, Kivan Dene, James McMartin, Philip Olivier, Bernie Foley, Nick Birkinshaw, George Wilson, Les O’Dochartaigh
Running Time: 90 minutes
PR Rating: *** Real Ale