Like when a show is billed as “A, B and C (substitute names of known actors) supported by children from the XYZ School of Dance”. You just can’t help thinking back to those torturous times when you sat through the local dance school’s annual show watching your son/daughter/nephew/niece perform their faltering routines. And after the show, everyone would say: “Aw. Didn’t they do well” before heading for the pub to recover.
Well this time there is no need for dread because the youngsters treading the boards at Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre last night didn’t just do well – they were bloody marvellous!
The (A, B and C) known actors were, as always, extremely entertaining. Keiran Cunningham as the bus driver. Mark Moraghan and Pauline Daniels as the warring teachers. Stephen Fletcher and Georgina White as the love-struck student teachers. We were treated to the polished comedic performances we have come to expect of the Royal Court regulars and they showed us their singing and dancing talents too.
But Our Day Out the Musical was all about the kids. A group of the most talented 12 to 16 year-olds you’ll find anywhere, they flawlessly performed energetic dance routines and sung pretty much all through the show without missing a single note.
They were extremely convincing as unruly remedial pupils and you can’t help but marvel at the amount of discipline it must have actually taken to portray such an undisciplined bunch!
The limelight however, fell on jack-the-lad characters Chris Mason and Jack Rigby, and on Sophie Fraser and Abby Mavers who played schoolgirls who had a crush on their handsom teacher. All four did full justice to the remarkable insight of Willy Russell’s script and I’m certain we will see a lot more of all four on the stage and screen in the future.
Under the directorship of the talented Bob Eaton, the show was choreographed to perfection within an imaginative stage set comprising dozens of cubes that effortlessly became a classroom, coach, castle, beach and fun fair.
Our Day Out the Musical runs at the Royal Court until October 6th.
If you like comedies, go and see it. If you like musicals, go and see it. If you like theatre go and see it.
If you don’t like any of the above, go and see it. I promise – you’ll be converted.
Production photographs by Dave Evans, courtesy of the Royal Court Liverpool