Pharaoh Cross The Mersey at The Liverpool Royal Court

Posted on 4 December 2015
By Chris High
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When you have people travelling from far and wide just to see your Christmas show on a regular basis, you know you are doing something right and The Liverpool Royal Court most definitely are, with this year’s offering of Pharaoh ‘Cross The Mersey.

Fred Lawless – with this his seventh Yuletide Feast for the theatre – certainly knows what his audiences want; fun, frolics, festivity and fruity behaviour all topped off with a bit more fun, which is exactly what they’ll get here, with last year’s love birds Boris and Daisy being mysteriously transported back to Ancient Egypt through a time/space continuum … or wormhole … or summat!

That they meet two Slaves fed up with working at the Pyramid face and attempting more escapes than Steve McQueen’s Cooler King and a very domineering Queen Nefertiti and s disillusioned King Tut can only mean one thing … mayhem … and that’s exactly what transpires.

As Bill the Slave, Andrew Schofield is a welcome returner to the shenanigans, with the ever brilliant Danny O’Brien as his trusty stooge upon which to bounce his exquisitely timed comic ball (sometimes, quite literally).

As Boris and Daisy, Michael Fletcher and Hayley Hampson once again show that not only are their characters a match made in Glasnostic Heaven, but also that their acting is supreme and should be more widely recognised as a result. In years to come, it would be an absolute delight to see these two tackle something like Educating Rita because they really are that good.

As for Michael Starke and Lindzi Germain, what more can be said about these two that hasn’t been said already. These are the stalwarts of just about any show they appear in and, with Schofield, it is these that make Christmas at The Court what it is.

It is also gratifying to see that the theatre is continuing to give up and comers their chance – this time to Royal Court Youth Theatre attendees, Leah Whiteside and Natasha Riley – so that the flood of talent this city offers keeps on flourishing.

Indeed, if there is a complaint it lies in the show being just a tad too long, with some of the scenes being a little over-egged.

Yet, with some jaw-dropping costumes designed by Marie Jones, a plethora of dance moves orchestrated by the ever marvellous Nicola Bolton, a set that is a lot more than eye candy and songs that will have you singing, clapping and laughing along throughout, Pharaoh ‘Cross The Mersey is still one Christmas Cracker that delivers gifts, paper hats and mottos galore.

Pharaoh ‘Cross The Mersey
Liverpool Royal Court Theatre
November 27 – January 16
Writer: Fred Lawless
Director: Howard Gray
Choreography: Nicola Bolton
Costumes: Marie Jones
Cast Includes: Andrew Schofield, Michael Starke, Lindzi Germain, Michael Fletcher, Hayley Hampson, Danny O’Brien, Leah Whiteside, Natasha Riley
Running Time: 2 hrs 15 mins
PR Rating: **** Sand Blasting
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