By the Waters shines light on family war struggles
By Henry James
THE people behind the Twopence to Cross The Mersey stage play, which was a success, have come together to adapt Helen Forrester’s sequel By The Waters of Liverpool.
The new production has been given its premiere at the Liverpool Empire and will be at the theatre until Saturday, October 13.
The play begins before the start of World War II and sees Helen Forrester (Maria Lovelady) living with her parents and her brothers and sisters in Liverpool. Helen’s father (Mark Moraghan) was made bankrupt during the Great Depression, so the family had to move up north. Despite her lack of education and against the wishes of her parents, Helen is able to secure work at a local charity. Her mother (Emma Dears) offers her no support and Emma is good at portraying her selfish nature. Helen pays money to her parents but sees little in return.
Helen’s sister Fiona is played by Emily Hughes, who recently shone as Desdemona in the Everyman presentation of Othello, and her performance stands out here as well. In this show, she, along with the other actors, play a number of parts, and Emily is also Miss Finch and Sylvia.
In the second half of the play the war has started. Helen becomes fed up with her situation and is jealous of her sister who has many boyfriends. Helen’s parents finally decide to help her.
Mark Moraghan brings gravitas to the production. As Helen’s father, he is distant and wrapped up in his misfortune in Act One, but this changes later in the show when he begins to help Helen.
Eric Potts is also worth a mention and is good in the many roles he plays, which include Norm and Mr Ellis.
Helen begins to find happiness towards the end of the show, but will it last?
This production is excellent at showing the struggles people experienced before, and during the war. The characters enjoy both highs and lows, and experience laughter along the way.
Star rating: 8/10. The issues raised are as relevant today as they were in the 1940s.