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Fully engaged in the pre-wed loo parties


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

Chokran’s design.

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

on key.

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)

Winner!