Six years ago I went to see a brand new play by Liverpool playwright Fred Lawless.

20160722-3033I remember writing back then, that it was one of the funniest plays I’d ever seen and that the only things throughout the entire performance that weren’t funny were Suzanne Collins’s legs.

Those legs are definitely not funny.

Those are serious legs!

20160722-2966A Fistful of Collars is back at the city’s Royal Court Theatre with the original cast, bar one, and it is just as funny, if not more so.

Directed once again by the talented Bob Eaton who has the knack of knowing exactly how to shape a script into the rawkus type of comedy for which the Royal Court is renowned, resulting in a tight, fast-moving play with the right mix of innuendo, slapstick and farce, liberally seasoned of course with that very special brand of scouse humour.

20160722-2973Set in a failing Dry-cleaners, the three owners, played by Eithne Browne, Angela Simms and Lindzi Germain, set up a scam to hire out customers’ designer dresses. They need the extra cash to pay their crooked landlord (Jake Abraham).

When the landlord’s P.A. is about to walk out wearing a dress belonging to a famous footballer’s wife, the trio’s feckless apprentice (Lenny Wood) knocks her out with a lungful of  dry cleaning solvent, the main constituent of which is chloroform.

How actress Suzanne Collins stopped herself from falling apart laughing as the tight red dress was unceremoniously stripped from her “unconscious” body is a miracle.

20160722-3043I’ll not spoil the rest of the plot for you, but suffice to say it involves a big bag of money, a gun, and the obligatory policeman, played by that inimitable master of comedy, Alan Stocks.

And whereas Suzanne Collins’s character emerged from her chloroform-induced coma as her same beautiful self, things turned rather ugly for the policeman who’d suffered the same fate.

20160722-3082He regained consciousness believing he was special agent Bond – Brook Bond – and took a trip in the tumble drier!

First Night
Because I was going to be away for Press Night, I got to review the play on it’s first night. But you wouldn’t have known it. The play was as tight and as slick as if this talented bunch of actors had properly settled into the run despite the six years that had passed since they’d done it all before.

Being set in a dry-cleaners’ they had obviously ironed out any problems well before the first curtain-up. Even new recruit Angela Simms slotted seamlessly into the cast as the cutest, dizziest doll at the laundry, alongside the amazing Ethne Browne and that mistress of expression, Lindzi Germain.

5starA Fistful of Collars is a 5 Star Comedy and I really cannot recommend it too highly. It is what the Royal Court is all about.

Catch it at The Royal Court Liverpool until August 20th.

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