Stuff & Nonsense
A place for all the other “uncategorised” stuff – with a bit of nonsense thrown in for good measure
Having survived the pandemic, you may find you are still experiencing some of the long-lasting side effects. These can include an acute lack of laughter due to the absence of slapstick and innuendo.
Well, Oooh-Er matron, you need to get yourself admitted to The Royal – and I don’t mean Liverpool’s new flagship hospital. I’m talking about the city’s Royal Court Theatre.
If laughter really is the best medicine, then this fabulous comedy, co-written by Lindzi Germain and Angela Simms, will get you right as ninepence in no time.
The play is set in old Liverpool Royal Hospital on the very day the demolition team are due to move in with their jackhammers and wrecking ball.
Linzi plays hospital tea-trolly dolly, Teresa McDonald. Then we have the two remaining medical practitioners, Nurse Florence, played by Angela, and the magnificently loud-mouthed and disorderly Ward Orderly, Mo McGuire, played to perfection by Lynn Francis.
Three talented ladies who have built on the foundations of the “Carry-on” comedies and taken the slapstick and innuendo to a whole new level of hilarity.
Everyone else has already moved to the brand-new hospital, and in the last ward to close before the demolition crew move in, they go about the business of saving lives whilst the crumbling old hospital building, quite literally, comes crashing down around their ears.
One 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. With no doctor available, the task of performing an emergency appendectomy falls to rookie nurse Florence. But no need to worry, her intensive training involved watching every episode of ‘Casualty’ and we watch as she removes his appendix to the sound of the program’s theme tune.
Then, as the wrecking ball struck, a very convincing jaded hospital ward, became an equally convincing demolition site right before the audience’s eyes. There was no lights-out or behind-the-curtain scene shifting. It was engineered in a manner that should earn the set designers an Oscar (or whatever awards set designers get).
Amidst the mayhem, demolition man Paddy O’Shaughnessy, played by hunky actor Danny O’Brien, gallantly arrives on the scene, setting nurse Florence’s heart fluttering and ultimately becoming the hero of the hour.
Sadly, one patient didn’t make it. Poor Mrs Llewellyn died in her hospital bed just fifteen minutes into the play, despite nurse Florence’s shockingly bad best efforts with the defibrillator. Actor Joe Matthew-Morris might not have had a single line to learn but must surely get the Golden Bedpan award for “Best Corpse”. He was on stage for the entire play, remaining 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, plenty of toilet humour and possibly the best bit of set building (and demolishing) you are ever likely to see. This play sets the bar for comedy theatre.
All six actors did this clever script proud and were a credit to director Cal McCrystal.
The first week saw the theatre running out of seats faster than the NHS is running out of beds. So, if you want an injection of fabulous fun, get yourself on the waiting list now before it’s run at The Royal Court ends on 16th April.
One of the questions on a TV quiz show tonight was “What is the World Record for the most people squeezed into a Classic Mini”?
The answer was 27, and it was set in 2014, on Brighton Beach.
It reminded me of the time I was doing publicity photographs for the late Louis Parker at his Stables Night Club in St Asaph back in the late 70s.
During my stint there, they had their sights set on several World Records, including the one for most people in a mini. I don’t recall the actual numbers but I do remember that on the initial attempt they only equalled the then record even though he had selected the most petite girls.
Not to be defeated, he declared that they’d stand a far better chance if the girls weren’t wearing clothes.
He was right. They squeezed one more to claim the new World Record.
Three weeks later, they used the same tactic for “Most bodies in a Red Phone box”.
?On both occasions, I was hard-pressed to find a photograph that the staid local press would publish uncensored! ???
The American TV show Saturday Night Live had a surprise treat in store for their audiences last week when country singer Kacey Musgraves performed completely naked, save for a glitzy pair of cowboy boots.
Sat on a stool, the 33-year-old beauty’s modesty was covered by a dreadnought acoustic guitar as she performed the song “Justified” from her latest album “Star-Crossed”.
Paying homage to Robin Wright’s similar scene in the film “Forrest Gump” Kacey’s performance was “eu naturel” in every sense of the word, singing and playing live on stage as cool as a cucumber.
Kacey Musgrave performing "Justified"
It seems Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre has had a bun in the oven – and now Homebaked the Musical has been born.
This is an uplifting and heartwarming play based upon the true story of a community’s struggle to keep its identity and keep the urban developers at bay.
Twenty-one years ago, Mitchell’s Bakery was scheduled for demolition, along with the adjoining streets nestled between Anfield and Everton. When it closed down, the building was taken over to act as a base from where the community task force would fight the council.
Through the medium of music and comedy, this play tells of how the volunteers learned how to bake and brought the bakery back to life, renaming it Homebaked. Of how they invented the Shankly Pie to sell to match-goers, both Blue and Red, but most of all, feeding the community spirit that would eventually win against the developers.
Royal Court regulars Paul Broughton and Eithne Browne had been chafing at the bit to get back on stage after the pandemic. Both shone in their roles as self-taught baker Frank and old Mrs Mitchell whose recipes he followed.
The role of the activist’s leader, Annie, brought seasoned actor Pauline Daniels back after an absence of ten years, slotting into the Royal Court’s ethic of good, not so clean fun as if she’d never been away.
Liam Tobin’s last role here was in “Lost in Colomendy” and he’s certainly not mislaid his ability to raise a laugh as was witnessed in his roles as the hapless Colin and Plod, the pedantic policeman.
Undergoing their baptism of fire in the ways of “The Court” were George Caple, George Jones and Steph Lacey. No fingers got burned though, as they seamlessly fitted in, raising laughs and raising spirits with the uplifting songs.
As always, the music was superb. All original songs, penned mainly by the play’s writer Boff Whalley, with the usual magical ingredients added by the theatre’s musical director Howard Gray, whose band was installed in the attic of the bakery, partially in view throughout.
To sum up, Homebaked the Musical is a funny, uplifting play and a lovely treat for anyone hungry for something to laugh and smile about following eighteen months of comedy celibacy. It runs until the 23rd of October and if you book a meal in the stalls, you can even treat yourself to a slice of genuine Shankly Pie.