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Dead Heavy, Fantastic

Liverpool Everyman
March 11 – April 2

Author: Robert Farquhar
Director: Matt Wilde
Producer: Everyman Playhouse
Cast Includes: Alan Stocks, Helen Carter, Con O’Neill, Jess Schofield,
Michelle Butterly, Stephen Fletcher, Samantha Robinson, David Carlyle.

Running Time: 2hrs 15 mins.

‘Dead Heavy, Fantastic' promotional advert

Everyman Liverpool Playhouse official website

The blurb for Robert Farquahar’s latest play, Dead Heavy, Fantastic, promises ‘One Wild Night Out in Liverpool’ and, particularly during the first Act it certainly delivers with a lightening quick pace accentuated by some terrific interaction performed superbly by a hard working cast.

As he waits for his blind date, lonely heart Frank has no idea of the mad, bad and deadly dangerous rollercoaster ride he’s about to get on and in the hands of Alan Stocks, Frank is indeed an everyman – someone to identify and empathise with from the off – and therein lies the secret of the success of the show. Every character is so well rounded, so natural and so well considered it is all but impossible to like or, as in the case of Con O’Neill’s thoroughly scurrilous Vince, dislike intensely.

However, again it is the younger cast members that really bring it together. Jess Schofield’s and Helen Carter’s portrayal of various characters from WAGS to little old women are both underlining their right to be acclaimed as up and coming actors to watch, whereas Stephen Fletcher’s Graeme the Accountant is another example of his ability to step into just about any role and make it is his own. Worthy of mention, too, is Samantha Robinson as Cindy, the love struck femme fatale for Vince’s duplicity, who commands each scene she is in with sexy bravado and naïve grace.

Yet, with these aside, it is Michelle Butterly’s recently divorced Maureen that, despite a short amount of actual stage time, probably just about steals the performance of the night slot.

Warm but vulnerable, Butterly nails the persona of just about every woman who has ever been placed in such a position and works so well alongside Stocks when the two finally meet, it brings a whole different level to proceedings.

If there is a complaint it lies in the fact that Act II does not keep the pace going and somewhat spoon-feeds  the already obvious message of having a good time all the time is only going to end in disaster. A message that is not so much as driven home but is, instead, dragged into the street and well and truly kicked in.

Yet, with this said and with a set comprising of a wall and two doors topped by a giant screen depicting everything from girls and boys giving it large on the town to aeroplanes taking off from Liverpool Airport, some fine musical arrangements and laughs aplenty, Dead Heavy, Fantastic remains a rollocking good night on the whole and is well worth a watch.
Chris High

Everyman Liverpool Playhouse official website



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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