Stags and Hens (The Remix), Talisman Theatre, Kenilworth, until Saturday, June 17.
Energy bursts upon the stage. The air throbs with the sounds of 1980s disco.
The young Scousers have hit town.
First the girls: gaudy and glittery. Then the lads: loud and lusty. The scene is set
for a trawl back through an age of noisy, uncouth exuberance. Tasteless? Yes.
Offensive? Probably. Fun? Certainly.
The joy of this production is its sheer courage in going for broke with a team
consisting mainly of newcomers. But there’s never a hint of inexperience
echoing around the ladies’ and gents’ loos of a seedy Liverpool nightclub.
This is the joint setting for an unplanned collision between the males and females
on the night before a wedding, and it’s effectively brought to life by Paul
It’s even more effectively brought to life by Corrina Jacob’s direction which
keeps everything moving at a blistering pace and ensures that the players,
whether arguing, emoting or breaking into dotty dance movements, are right
No fault can be attributed to the company for a couple of moralising
moments imposed by writer Willy Russell and rather out of place amid the
rampant wit and canny observation of the rest of the piece.
With such a dedicated cast, it seems almost unfair to pick out individuals but
from the lads’ camp Jimmy Proctor’s swaggering macho man and Nick
Doughlin’s shiny-suited would-be wide boy are first-rate and for the girls there
are Katie-Ann Campbell’s histrionic drama queen and Jemma Ireland’s
voluptuous vamp spearheading the comedy. All hail the rest, though, because
hardly a single character is out of step and the ensuing ensemble work could
be the envy of any theatre company.
Russell’s sharp-edged humour remains as potent as ever and although this play
has been classed as a remix, it’s hard to see where any changes lie.
For theTalisman, though, you only have to consider the literary chasm between this
and last month’s Chekhov play to realise just how potent local theatre can be.
Pictured above, left to right: Billy (Matt Baxter), Eddy (Jimmy Proctor) and Robbie (Nick Doughlin)