Review: Brick up the Mersey Tunnels at Royal Court

At 8pm in the Royal Court Theatre, 3rd August 2006 seen “Brick up the Mersey Tunnels” produced its first ever showing. Shoot forward 10 years and here we are, at the Royal Court Theatre watching a show that has seen by around 200,000 people and has been a huge success since it first hit the local stage.

Brick up the Mersey tunnels hasn’t been the only success story however, the Royal Court theatre has seen some of the best refurbishment work in the city. It has been transformed from what was a shabby old run down theatre – To what is now surely one of the finest theatres in the North West. It boasts a cabaret style seating plan, fantastic food and lovely staff, all the way from the box office to the bar. The theatre is a real gem in our city that should not be taken for granted! It’s on our doorstep – Literally, grab almost any bus or train into town and you will be minutes away from it, if not seconds.

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With all that said, the show itself showcases what is best about our city – Our humour. Two local writing forces, Nicky Alt and Dave Kirkby came together to write ‘Brick Up’ and the word local really shines through the plot. We see jokes and a plotline that would fly over the heads of many from outside of Merseyside if I am being honest. It starts out with 2 rival sides being firmly established, the Scousers and the Wirral Peninsular pair. The pair from the Wirral are an older, loveless couple where Mrs Ann Twacky rules the house over her fantasy driven husband Dennis, who longs to be a cowboy or someone who can at least wear a Lacoste tracksuit.

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WATCH the cast rehearsing and our chat with Royal Court Theatre Manager Iain Christie here.
The story was brilliant, but it is the least thing that impresses when you watch this. The acting, ability and delivery on show is fantastic from all the cast. Special mentions must go to the following;
Eithne Brown playing Ann Twacky – The enemy in this story is Ann Twacky, she is someone who has made abit of herself and likes to look down on those who live in Liverpool, who she feels she is miles above – Even though she works there and amongst them herself. Eithne Brown plays the role perfectly, as if it has been purposely written for her. Her performance cannot be faulted and her singing is effortless. She has been around the city for years and is a true professional, this shows in what is a fantastic role for her.
Andrew Schofield as Dickie Lewis and Dee Estuary – Dickie Lewis is the lying know it all of the story. He chances and schemes his way into jobs and has a good laugh while doing it. When he is looked down on because he is from Liverpool he finds his money from elsewhere – In getting revenge. Andrew Schofield, who has long cemented his place as a great actor and credit to the city, plays this role as a natural. You can tell he is a professional who loves being on the stage. All his lines are delivered perfectly and to the maximum effect.

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Roy Brandon as Dennis Twacky – Dennis is an older gentleman who is not far away from many typically middle class men that I have met myself! He loves his golf but is dominated and controlled by any wish his wife demands. He lives in a fantasy world where he is John Wayne and he loves his line dancing. Roy Brandon plays the role perfectly and if I am honest, he steals the show. Every time he pops onto the stage laughter follows him. The way he looks, to the smallest simplest movement he makes, Roy is a gem and the show wouldn’t work without him as Dennis.

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Paul Duckworth as Gerrard Gardener – Gerrard Gardener is the ex army now royal mail man cynic who has recently left his wife and is struggling to find love and happiness anywhere other than at his local café with the girl of his fancy, Maggie (played by the effortlessly likeable Suzanne Collins). Paul Duckworth fills this role and he hasn’t always been the regular, however he looks like he has always been in the show. His talent is self-evident, from his comic delivery to his fantastic singing, again he is one of the major highlights of the show and a real acting gem from our city.

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This isn’t to forget any of the other cast, who were all outstanding, Francis Tucker, in what seemed to be 2 brief scenes brought the house down with his fantastic role as Liz Card which is well worth a mention.

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At the end of the show I felt proud to have seen it, not because of its comical story or that it was delivered by such great performers – But that this was completely home grown. It serves as a reminder of what great talent we have in this city, we have great performers who can stand on stage and deliver exactly what they set out to do – Make us laugh and entertain us for the night – which they did perfectly.
If you haven’t seen this show before, or even if you have – Make sure you turn out to the Royal Court to watch it!

9/10 from The Guide Liverpool

By Dale Roberts

Check out The Guide Liverpool tonight 8.30pm on Bay TV as Jay meets Suzanne Collins on stage at the Royal Court.

WATCH the cast rehearsing and our chat with Royal Court Theatre Manager Iain Christie here.

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