Scouse: A Comedy of Terrors @ Grand Central Hall
There are many Scouser’s who believe that Liverpool should seek its independence from the state and have its own government and laws for people to abide by, but nobody ever stops to think about what the cost of putting such a scheme into practice would be. This is what Andrew Cullen’s fantastically constructed play, Scouse: A Comedy of Terrors, sets about to explore.
This is a hilarious yet dark comedy that was first performed at the Everyman Theatre back in 1997. Twenty years on, it has been revived by the Lantern Theatre with a cast of homegrown actors in the stunning surroundings of the Grand Central Hall.
As the play kicks off, Tom (Peter Washington) is conducting a historical tour of Liverpool, and everyone who has booked to go on it doesn’t seem to want to be there. Everybody on the tour makes a bid to escape while Tom harps on and he ends up talking to himself about all the great things that have happened in Liverpool over the centuries.
Next we meet his family, wife Kath (Jackie Jones), and children, Susan (Katie King) and Ben (James Ledsham), and observe his interactions with them as they go about their daily business, and we also learn that a political rally has been planned by the Liverpool People’s Party, which will inadvertently change their lives, and those of the people around them, forever.
The march is being held in the city centre to highlight the cause for Liverpool’s independence from the British Isles, and everything goes smoothly at first, until a fight breaks out, which leads to rioting and looting from shops in the town.
Along with his friends, Clive (Curtis Watt), Macka (Reg Edwards), and Big Frank (James McMartin), Tom appears on television to get some recognition for the Liverpool People’s Party and explain the plight, but the UK government objects and sends in the army, which aggravates matters somewhat, and this causes a situation similar to that of the troubles in Northern Ireland.
The backdrop of the Liverpool skyline was quite effective, we didn’t only hear the sounds of the petrol bombs or the smashing of glass as windows got put in, we also saw the flashes and the fires, which was quite frightening to watch and it made me feel like I was actually there experiencing the whole thing myself and not just observing it.
It’s a moving and thought-provoking piece of theatre that is truly shocking in its context, yet there are also comical incidents in the play that brighten things up a little, like the hilarious nightclub scenes where Susan and her friend Tina (Louise Garcia) are dancing and attempting to cop off.
At a couple of hours long, this show will keep you glued to your seat and make you sympathise with the character’s predicament, yet you’ll roar with laughter at some of the more light-hearted moments.
As I left the Grand Central Hall, I reflected on what I had seen. I had been deeply moved by the whole experience and felt a little edgy, and I came to the conclusion that independence for Liverpool might not be such a good idea after all.
Scouse: A Comedy of Terrors is running until December 15th. Buy tickets for the show here.