Review: Shed at The Liverpool Royal Court Theatre

Posted on 19 April 2015
By Chris High
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Being a bloke, there is something comforting about having a space of your very own in which to chill out. For some it is an attic space, for others a Man Cave. At The Liverpool Royal Court currently, Donny has a Shed in which he potters, until he gets an unexpected visitor in the shape of Davey, his former best mate, and what transpires between the two is everything but relaxing.

So with secrets about to be revealed and with more than a little meander down amnesia alley in store for the protagonists – played by two of the Royal Court’s best-loved actors, Paul Broughton and Michael Starke – it might come as a surprise that Shed turns out to be a good bit darker than might be expected.

That’s not to say that it isn’t funny, because it is. It’s just that it isn’t the gut busting, laugh a second piece that might be anticipated. In fact, it is pretty reflective, with moral lessons and regrets being aired as often as the good times that Donny and Davey enjoyed in days of yore.

With this being a two-hander – aided and abetted by another magnificent Royal Court set – the pressure on getting things absolutely spot on lands squarely on the shoulders of the cast and the script they have to deliver and this is where things dip a little. Put simply, some pruning needs to be carried out.

Yes there are twists and yes there are some great laughs, but all too often it sounds as though we might be eves-dropping midway through two bloke’s private conversation, rather than witnessing a couple of best friends with some secrets that have changed not only theirs, but the lives of those around them too. When the “big” twist arrives it comes across as a lot less surprising than it might, simply because of the amount of information we’re given beforehand.

Nevertheless, Shed remains a good value, gentle comedy that will have audiences openly chortling as well as feeling more than the odd lump forming in the throat and, after all, stirring the emotions as much as mercilessly tickling the funny bone, is every bit a part of what good theatre should be.

Shed
The Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool
April 10 – May 9
Authors: Paul Broughton, Michael Starke, Bob Eaton
Director: Bob Eaton
Cast: Paul Broughton, Michael Starke
Running Time: 2 hours
PR Rating: ***