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Review: Books, Theatre, Albums, Movies and Gigs


The Everyman Theatre, Liverpool
September 21 – October 13

Author: Lizzie Nunnery
Director: Gemma Bodinetz
Producer: The Everyman Theatre
Cast includes: Brid Brennan,
Brendan Conroy, Matthew Dunphy,
Kristofer Gummerus, Emily Taaffe

Running time: 2 hrs 30 mins

Everyman Liverpool Playhouse official website

LISTEN to Chris High on BBC Radio Merseyside talking about Intemperance.
Thursday 27th Sept 2007

1854: a time of dizzying change. Liverpool’s streets are teeming with merchants and new arrivals from all corners of the globe. Every day as the walls of St. George’s Hall grow higher, the poor of the cellar slums drink away their fears. Millie (Brennan) is desperate to taste a little hope and her new Norwegian husband, Brynjar (Gummerus), is the only one who can offer her and her family escape.

The nineteenth century is the defining period of Liverpool’s history and Lizzie Nunnery has written a play filled with a depth and poignancy that few – let alone at the first time of asking – can manage. Set in a windowless cellar where death and disease linger all around, the play is necessarily dark yet illuminated by some sparkling dialogue.

The performances, too, are strong, especially those of Matthew Dunphy and Emily Taafe, who play Millie’s desperate children from her first marriage, Ruairi and Niamh, with great prowess, turning to their bed-ridden grandfather, Fergal (Conroy), for guidance and advice, who delivers by telling them incredible stories of his seafaring youth.

In relating the story itself, however, the play could be shaved of a good fifteen minutes in the first half, despite it all coming together nicely in the second, as there is a little too much telling and not enough showing. When Brynjar says, “I have something to say. But I can’t get to it,” you begin to feel for the man on an entirely different level. With that said, however, Gemma Bodinetz has again directed an important and moving play that not only underlines the struggles of one family, but the problems of the city as a whole.
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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