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Chris High reviews Theatre 2007

The Electric Hills
By Michael McLean

Louis Emmerick, Dave Fishley, Claire Keelan, Azuka Oforka
Director: Nick Bagnall
Production Manager: Emma Wright

Liverpool Everyman Theatre
Wednesday March 14th, 2007

promotional image

by Chris High

Everyman Liverpool Playhouse official website

New writing should be encouraged and nurtured as the precious commodity it is. With The Electric Hills being his first play, Michael McLean should be nurtured more than most.

Kelisha’s dad was Top of the Pops. The Electric Hills. One hit wonder. 80s floor filler. Now Ricky’ over the hill, sleeping all day and running dead discos at night.
But when his girls just want to have careers and a former band member crashes in, the past reveals a tainted love and what happens when the Rock and Roll Dreams don’t come through.

Image: Azuka Oforka (Kelisha)  Louis Emerick (Ricky)Michael McLean is a graduate of the Everyman and Playhouse Young Writers Programme and on this evidence the scheme has much to applaud it. The writing is tight without ever being inflexible, whilst the performances – and especially those of Louis Emmerick (Ricky) and Azuka Oforka (Kelisha) – are superb.

Emmerick is so at home in the living room / pub / party setting, it is possible to forget that the audience are sitting in a theatre and his comic timing is so natural its almost as though he’s not working from a script at all.

Image: Joanne (Claire Keelan)Oforka, meanwhile, is the epitome of teenage angst and ambition without any of the nastiness that can so often overshadow such roles. Kelisha is, instead, a well- rounded girl who has been let down by both her parents without ever being at fault.

Dave Fisher is disturbingly addled as the drug- affected prodigal band-mate, Little Richard, who bumbles back into Ricky’s life to cause emotional waves of Titanic-sinking proportions, whilst Claire Keelan as Ricky’s partner, Joanne, comes across as somehow self-centred without even trying to be.

Image: Louis Emerick (Ricky)This is an accomplished and comfortable debut from a playwright from whom we are destined to hear more should he continue in the manner he has set out and The Electric Hills is as professional a production as anyone has a right to expect.

The Electric Hills is playing at The Liverpool Everyman Theatre, Hope Street, Liverpool from March 9th to March 31st.

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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