Peter McGarry is an experienced,
independent professional theatre critic who has agreed to
review Talisman Theatre productions.
Peter is free to express his opinions for good or ill. The
Talisman Theatre has no control whatsoever over the content
of these reviews and will not comment publicly on what he
and Hens (The Remix)
bursts upon the stage. The air throbs with the sounds of
1980s disco. The young Scousers have hit town.
the girls: gaudy and glittery. Then the lads: loud and lusty.
The scene is set for a trawl back through an age of noisy,
uncouth exuberance. Tasteless? Yes. Offensive? Probably.
joy of this production is its sheer courage in going for
broke with a team consisting mainly of newcomers. But there's
never a hint of inexperience echoing around the ladies'
and gents' loos of a seedy Liverpool nightclub. This is
the joint setting for an unplanned collision between the
males and females on the night before a wedding, and it's
effectively brought to life by Paul Chokran's design.
even more effectively brought to life by Corrina Jacob's
direction which keeps everything moving at a blistering
pace and ensures that the players, whether arguing, emoting
or breaking into dotty dance movements, are right on key.
No fault can be attributed to the company for a couple of
moralising moments imposed by writer Willy Russell and rather
out of place amid the rampant wit and canny observation
of the rest of the piece.
such a dedicated cast, it seems almost unfair to pick out
individuals but from the lads' camp Jimmy Proctor's swaggering
macho man and Nick Doughlin's shiny-suited would-be wide
boy are first-rate and for the girls there are Katie-Ann
Campbell's histrionic drama queen and Jemma Ireland's voluptuous
vamp spearheading the comedy. All hail the rest, though,
because hardly a single character is out of step and the
ensuing ensemble work could be the envy of any theatre company.
sharp-edged humour remains as potent as ever and although
this play has been classed as a remix, it's hard to see
where any changes lie. For the Talisman, though, you only
have to consider the literary chasm between this and last
month's Chekhov play to realise just how potent local theatre