Thursday, 8 October 2009

Twopence to Cross the Mersey - Liverpool Empire

Twopence to Cross the Mersey
Book: Rob Fennah
Music/Lyrics: Rob & Alan Fennah
Director: Ian Kellgren
Reviewer: Lorna Andrewes

Twopence To Cross The Mersey, is set in the years of the depression, when the young Helen was transported out of her comfortable and secure affluent world into the hardship of a hand to mouth existence in Liverpool.

The writer has managed to convey the atmospere of time and place well, showing the highs and lows of humanity with a clear eye,the events taking place all too believable. Emma Grace Arends, as young Helen portrayed the conflicts of care for her family against frustration at her parents' inability to shoulder their resposibilites.Her voice was excellent, and the duets between her and her adult self worked really well for me.

Pauline Daniels as the older Helen kept the thread of the story, with one or two slight fluffs of lines, and the parents, played by Mark Moraghan and Emma Vaudrey, were also excellent. Moraghan has a strong, sure touch with his songs and carries well over a sometimes slightly overpowering orchestra .Emma Vaudrey was also good except for an occasional difficulty with her top notes. In fact, the whole ensemble was strong with no weak points, and the performance of the children was faultless.

Musically, too, this was worth the visit, with songs that should last in the memory. Modern musical lyrics often border on the banal but 'Twopence' escaped this, I found them taposite, and sometimes unexpectedly touching.

The set was evocative of the period and worked well, but I did find it distracting to see them through the thin screening behind the stage. Helen's eventual success in her struggle to be her own person was a heartwarming to a remarkable story. I guess I'd better read the book!

Runs until 17th Oct
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