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Chris High reviews Teopence to Cross the Mersey 2007 on www.chrishigh.com


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Reviews: Liverpool Theatre

Two Pence To Cross The Mersey

Pauline Daniels, Mark Moraghan, Jamie Clarke, Emma Vaudrey, Andrew Schofield, Nick Conway, Lindzi Germain, Gordon Hall, Lynn Francis, Richard Helm, Rebekha Flynn

Written by Rob Fennah from the book by Helen Forrester

Liverpool Empire Theatre
11th April, 2007

 
Twopence to Cross the Mersey promotional image

TWOPENCE TO CROSS
THE MERSEY


2007 is the eight-hundredth anniversary of Liverpool gaining its Royal Charter, so what better way to highlight the city’s development than with an all Merseyside production of one of its favourite shows, Twopence To Cross The Mersey.

This is the first time the entire cast has been drawn from the region and can be said to have grown stronger and ever more authentic as a result.

In the role of Helen Forrester as an adult, Pauline Daniels excels. Adding a vocal performance that fills the theatre, an extra dimension comes to the role that had previously – and sadly – been absent in previous productions, in which the narrator usually uses only dialogue to convey her sentiments. Pauline Daniels can certainly sing and her presence on stage is a delight to witness as she faultlessly performs such moving songs as Butterfly In The Rain and Only In My Dreams.

Image: Jamie ClarkeAnother fine performance is that of Jamie Clarke, daughter of Michael Starke, who has played the role of Young Helen so often, it is almost as though she was born to play it. Rather than coming across as complacent, however, she has instead added a world-weariness to the character that should never be experienced by a schoolgirl.

Desperate to return to school after her family have been laid waste by the Wall Street Crash of 1929, Helen instead must stay home and mind her young brother, Edward, whilst her own mother sinks further into self-obsessed depression. The angst and frustration Jamie Clarke gets across is both heart-warming and heartbreaking by degrees, such as it should be.

Emma Vaudrey, too, is quite superb as Helen’s spoilt, vain and self-obsessed mother. Her acidic tongue has the ability to make the audience wince at her verbal cruelty, whereas her songs are so reflective, everybody can empathise with her true feelings of failure.

Image: Mark MoragahanMark Moragahan, better known as Doctor Owen Davis in Holby City or from singing with Natasha Hamilton from Atomic Kitten on Just The Two Of Us, plays Helen’s father, a former well-to-do financier faced with the harsh realities of destitution. Moragahan is perfect in coming over with just the right amount of desperation the part requires and is the perfect foil for Vaudrey’s nastiness. Oh yeah, he can carry a tune too.

Overall, this production of Twopence Across The Mersey outstrips any of its
predecessors and is a delight to see from beginning to end, with its wonderful set, exhilarating music and fine performances from all those involved.
10/10.

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