Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Young Gen at the Cramphorn


photo by Barrie White-Miller

It was us and them on Our Day Out. The Scouse kids versus a range of authority figures, from Les the Lollipop Man [Henri de Lausun] to the Welsh shopkeeper [Ellie Pepper], not to mention the teachers …

Bart Lambert and Sam Toland, the grand old men of this production, alternated Briggs and Colin, and on the Tuesday we saw Lois Hirrell as the caring Mrs Kay, and Leah Kirby as Susan. Bart's tense and emotional scene with a tearful Carol [an excellent Sophie Walker] was a high point of Ray Jeffery's production, with a simple but effective lighting change.

Everyone had an accent. Posh teachers, scally schoolkids. Penelope Keith, Lily Savage. The lines were delivered with style and attack. Standouts on the bus [driven by a lively Alex Elder] included Ed Alston and Alex Hilton as the older lads, Danielle Hill's Jackie, Martin Williams as Andrews, plus Alice Masters and Charlotte Broad as the ever-popular Bored Girls, though it was a shame their conversion took place in the darkness of the auditorium. Elissa Brown, as the lovelorn Linda, with a cutely comic crush on Colin, shone in the Act I paean of unrequited Liverpudlian love.

Willy Russell's blend of anarchy and sugar-coated social comment hasn't a memorable tune to its name, but the production numbers [the packed lunch Round, the revolving coach, the SloMo footie, the emotional finale] never looked less than professional, and this accessible classic gave some younger performers a chance to shine in the Progress Class.

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