Two Pence To Cross The Mersey
Bron, Jamie Clark, Garth Bardsley, Melanie Jessop, Gary Cargill
Depicting Helen Forrester's young
life following the Wall Street Crash of 1929, is a little like tracking
the history of the world. So many people were affected that it's difficult
to imagine the world reaching the depths of such depression today. But
the Forrester family did - and survived. This is their story, and those
of who surrounded them, and it is told with humour, poignancy, guile
and humour from beginning to end that demonstrates the spirit of the
City to a tee.
Oh, and the songs that relate the tale
Eleanor Bron as narrator Elder Helen
may, rightly, be regarded as the star of the show, but it is her alter-character,
young Helen played by Jamie Clarke, who steals the show. Here is a burgeoning
talent of such high proportions that it is difficult to see the end
of her rainbows. This young lady filled the theatre, not only with her
strong voice, but also with her stage presence. Her triplet with Melanie
Jessop (Mother) and Garth Bardsley (Father) during "Being Born"
would steal the highest of lights in any show, anywhere and brought
rapturous applause from all those who heard it here.
But it is not only the stars who excel;
the hard graft of Gary Cargill, who plays 3 major roles, alongside that
of Susan Twist, who plays another 3 with great humour, exemplifies the
professional nature of the ensemble.
Which is not to say that the stars themselves
do not shine brightly; Eleanor Bron is as stately and austere as one
might expect from an actress of her standing, whereas Melanie Jessop
is the very image of hypocrisy that one might expect from the wannabe
middle-classes of the period. Ashamed to be at the level to which she
has sunk, Jessop's performance cannot help but to instil sympathy and
angst in equal measure, for her character's inability to cope alongside
her dogged determination to survive.
This is a must see show of the highest
proportions. It holds atmosphere and melancholy aplenty, true, but also
reeks of humour and hope that should be a lesson to all of us who forget
our history to our peril.
Nobody makes it out of the slums and
forgets the taste of sour milk and Helen Forrester, Rob Fennah and this
cast should be roundly applauded for reminding us of the fact so astutely.
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the Mersey' adapted from the novel by Helen Forrester?
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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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