The Royal – Review

20160622-2056Did you ever wonder why they never write sit-coms like they used to? Do you yearn for the likes of “Only Fools and Horses”, “Rising Damp” and “Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em”?

One of the best early examples of the slapstick and innuendo style of humour was “Carry on Nurse”. Well Oooh Er matron, fast forward fifty seven years and it’s happening all over again at Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre.

20160622-2041The Royal is a brand new comedy written by Lindzi Germain, Angela Simms and Lynn Francis.

It is set in the very last medical ward to be evacuated at the old Liverpool Royal Hospital on the day the demolition team move in with their jack hammers and wrecking ball.

These three talented ladies have taken the slapstick and innuendo to a whole new level of hilarity with both their writing and their acting, as they go about the business of saving lives whilst the crumbling old hospital building, quite literally, comes crashing down around their ears.

20160622-2068One of the lives they save is that of the grumpy nil-by-mouth-unless-it’s-alcohol patient Walter Bush, played by the inimitable Alan Stocks.  They even operate on him to the theme tune of ‘Casualty’.

Actor Danny O’Brien becomes Paddy O’Shaughnessy and O’so gallantly arrives on the scene, to set nurse Florence’s heart a’fluttering and to ultimately become the hero of the hour.

20160622-2057One patient sadly didn’t make it. Mrs Llewellyn died in her hospital bed just fifteen minutes into the play, despite nurse Florence’s best attempt at chest compressions. Actor Phillip Hesteltine might not of had a single line to learn but must surely get the Golden Bedpan “Best Corpse” award. He was on stage for the entire play and remained straight-faced and ashen throughout, whilst enduring a string of hilarious indignities.

The prospect of ‘corpsing’ on stage is every actor’s nightmare. And many will tell you that it is most likely to happen while you are playing dead!

The Royal is a delightful fast-moving comedy jam-packed with wonderful one-liners, lots of action and has a great story-line running through it. All six actors did this clever script proud and were a credit to director Cal McCrystal.

20160622-2102And finally, a special mention must go to the set designers for creating a very convincing jaded hospital ward that became an equally convincing disaster site right before the audience’s eyes. No lights-out, behind-the-curtain scene shifting. The whole shebang shifted itself as the wreaking ball struck.

The play runs at The Royal Court until July 16th. Go along, prepared to seek medical attention for your aching jaw and laughter-bruised ribs. This is dead funny and will have you in stitches!

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