Not satisfied with being fine actors, singers, dancers, comediennes and all round lovely people, Lindzi Germain, Lynn Francis and Angela Simms can now class themselves as bone fide playwrights as The Royal takes its bow at, ironically, The Royal Court in Liverpool. The thing is, is it any good?
The answer of course, with the immense wealth of talent that is on show, is a resounding yes. In fact, from the moment Llindzi Germain steps on stage to “warm up the audience” with a little bit of an impromptu stand up routine before the curtain rises, the place belongs to everybody involved and we as a whole are urging them on.
An added plus is seeing Germain, Francis and Simms perform their own script – and perform it so well – and it is a bit like watching your kids perform in a school sports day: you desperately want them to succeed whilst understanding that if they don’t, they’re still winners anyway.
This is podium obtaining stuff though. The Royal Liverpool Hospital is being demolished and the three girls are waiting for Mrs. Llewellyn to die before they can move off Ward 8X. The chaos that ensues is non-stop, but don’t for a second think that this is just lunacy without control.
Okay, it is a little bit crude in places and perhaps could do with a little bit of trimming here and there, but it is clear that a great deal of thought has gone into creating a genuinely side-splitting comedy that also contains more than a few pauses for thought.
In truth it is in the quieter moments that the quality of the writing truly shines, with Cal McCrystal’s exquisite direction squeezing every ounce of emotion from these as he manages to do with the many manic sequences. It also helps that he not only has a superb cast to work with, but also one of the most jaw droppingly beautiful sets to have been designed for a show that – as it stands – isn’t going on the road.
Angela Simms as nice but dim ‘nurse’ Florence (see what they did there?), Lindzi Germain as ‘mother hen’ of the group Teresa (they did it again there too, see) and Lynn Francis as Mo from the Morgue (okay, they’ve stopped with the name thing now) are all superb and clearly revelling in putting on what they have each created.
Danny O’Brien’s Paddy is adorably understated, whereas – and without having a single line or word to say – Phil Heseltine’s Mrs Llewellyn deserves special mention. Rather like Kris Mochrie playing the drunk in Alan Bleasdale’s Stags & Hens, it can’t be an easy task to just lie there for 90 + minutes, at the mercy of those pushing, pulling, dragging and prodding you about all evening without once cracking up.
Yet it is Alan Stocks and his classic comic timing and delivery who, as Walter Bush, truly stands out with some fantastic lines that will have you, ahem, in stitches. Very often it isn’t what you say but the way you say it and Alan Stocks says it brilliantly from start to finish.
And there should also be a special mention for Granada TV’s Lucy Meacock who shows just what a great sport she is in getting involved in some filmed sequences, that will not only have you laughing out loud but also playing ‘spot the actor’ in the background.
Chaotic, manic and ultimately riotous, The Royal is guaranteed to crack a few ribs during its run and hats off to The Royal Court for allowing the writers to prove their metal.
The Liverpool Royal Court Theatre
June 17 – July 16
Writers: Lindzi Germain, Lynn Francis, Angela Simms
Director: Cal McCrystal
Set Design: Mark Walters
Cast: Lindzi Germain, Lynn Francis, Angela Simms, Alan Stocks, Danny O’Brien, Phil Heseltine, Lucy Meacock
Running Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
PR Rating: **** Rib Cracking Fun
For Tickets: http://www.royalcourtliverpool.co.uk/whats-on/the-royal