‘Ticket to Write’ Showcase at the Unity Theatre
November 4, 2015
Liverpool’s Unity Theatre is rightly proud of its role in offering opportunities to new writers and experimental theatre.
So where better to host the Ticket To Write competition, a showcase for short original plays inspired by The Beatles, than just around the corner from John Lennon’s favourite watering hole (Ye Cracke) and Paul McCartney’s school (the Liverpool Institute, now LIPA)?
This is the fourth year of the competition run by festival director Jamie Gaskin with the help of this year’s artistic director Rio Matchett, guest director Kate Treadell, and co-director Darren Begley.
The three 40-minute plays were staged over two consecutive nights with the audience vote equating to one judge alongside the two professional judges, this year as last, theatre professionals Clare Dow and her partner Ian Kellgren. (See below for the winner).
First up was Face In A Jar by London-based playwright Rob Taylor, an interesting portrayal of Eleanor Rigby (Geraldine Molony Judge) as a church warden facing exile from the place she loves as Father McKenzie (Eryl Lloyd Parry) announces his retirement. Full of repressed feelings, regrets, and revelations, this was a bold combination of compassion and occasional humour in the face of limited rehearsal time.
Next was Stalking the Beatles by Maureen Brady Johnson of Oberlin, Ohio, USA. At first sight this story of four teenage girls (Kate French, Lucy Griffiths, Ellie Turner, and Siofra Mckean-Carter) desperate to meet the Fab Four on their first tour of America might not have appealed to some of the, er, middle-aged members of the audience. But despite the somewhat sinister title this was a heartwarming tale of real friendships and imaginary romance. The girls’ witty banter, falling outs, and comic slapstick was great fun and for this viewer the best performance on the night.
Finally, local lad Patrick Maguire’s Your Are Lennon, a domestic exploration of John’s formative relationships. This well-worn history produced great performances from Rhys Williams as absent seafarer dad Freddy, Jane Hamlet as surrogate mum Mimi, and Clare Crossland as real mum Jude, casting new light on the emotional baggage Lennon carried right through his life.
And the winner is: You Are Lennon by Patrick Maguire