Ahhh, it’s great when a fabulous show returns. The Royal, written by the ladies of the cast and now with director Cal McCrystal added to the credits, is back at The Liverpool Royal Court with even more zip, zeal and zest than on offer last time around.
It’s not so much the originality of the piece – after all, you pretty much know what you’re going to get the moment you sit down: a bucketful of deliciously delivered slapstick, a fair slice of innuendo and some “oooohhh” moments – but more the surprises that come from within at a rate of knots. There is the pathos and the emotional investment at work which each and every cast member has made exemplary in adding layers to their characters. It is this ‘respect’ that really glitters.
Added to this is the super slick directorial dynamism brought to the piece by McCrystal and the manner in which Mark Walters’ gloriously, magnificently monolithically designed set is utilised – one of the biggest around surely – so that what we have is the basis of a fun-filled-giggle-fest that never disappoints.
You’re going to be crying with laughter one second then feeling the prickle of genuinely heartfelt tears the next, all of which is conjured up by this sextet of Royal Court mainstay magicians.
Based in and around Ward 8X of the soon to be razed Royal Hospital, this is medical madness that pumps new blood into the failing heart of craziness. With Lindzi Germaine kicking things off with an uproarious music hall styled introduction of the cast, complete with a sincere and genuine thanks to all nurses, paramedics and doctors in the audience, it’s game on.
Lynn Francis as Mortuary Mo is just sublime, whereas Angela Simms’naive, nice-but-dim nurse Florence, replete with rattling skeletons aplenty, is an absolute joy. Then there is the boisterous, bolshy brilliance supplied by Alan Stocks, and the somewhat more demure role given by the ever superb Danny O’Brien which adds ever more traction to the gurney full of grins infiltrating his infectious frolic. Thenthere is the physical comedy of Philip Heseltine as the ‘late’ Mrs. Llewellyn. Not easy being pulled pillar-to-post all night, yet young Heseltine manages it all with great delight.
Jam packed with joy, The Royal received full marks and my choice for The Royal Court Show of 2016 just 15 months ago and does so again. Be warned though: such is its popularity, if you’re thinking of getting tickets get them soon. I’m obviously not the only one to have loved it.
The Liverpool Royal Court Theatre
August 18 – September 23
Director: Cal McCrystal
Cast: Lindzi Germain, Lynn Francis, Angela Simms, Danny O’Brien, Alan Stocks, Phillip Heseltine
Running Time: 2 hrs 20 mins
PR RATING: ***** Rollickin’ Rolin’ Roystaboutin’