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Play offers ‘a fine balance between comedy and pathos’

Play offers ‘a fine balance between comedy and pathos’

by Ellen Campbell (May 2019)

My Fairfield Lady

Liverpool Royal Court

WRITTEN by Liverpool Royal Court’s executive producer, Kevin Fearon, and directed by Chris Mellor, the play is loosely based on My Fair Lady but without the songs.

Lizzie Ripon (Jessica Dyas), entrepreneur extraordinaire with a Wirral accent to match, is in her florist shop, mooning over her latest boyfriend, Higson (Danny O’Brien) to her colleagues, Steph (Helen Carter) and Robbie (Matthew Walker, who doubles as a doctor and a priest). Lizzie is hoping to interest Higson to invest in her business.

Meanwhile, in a hospital room, Higson’s parents, Alf and Mary McDermott (Michael Starke and Julie Glover), who have been married for 40 odd years, are coming to their journey’s end. They are thankful for their time together creating a business empire and are ready to hand over the reins to their son.
The problem is that Mary feels Higson has no business sense and needs to find a good Scouse lass to marry who will set him straight. Otherwise he is written out of her will. Higson convinces Mary he has the ideal girlfriend and will introduce her.

The fun begins converting Lizzie into a fully-fledged Scouser. Steph and Robbie take on the task. The high heels, the hair, the dress and the scouse accent transform Lizzie into the Scouse girl that Mary has set her heart on finding for her boy to marry. Will it be enough to convince her? Moreover, does Higson love Lizzie? Does Lizzie love Higson? Will Mary change her will?

This play has all the right ingredients for success. It’s laugh out loud funny but there are some very poignant scenes too which makes for a nice balance of emotions. It also sends out clear messages about the dangers of judging people at face value and the value of family ties.

The cubed set with illuminated backdrops of the city was outstanding and the transition backwards and forwards between florist shop, hospital room, family kitchen and cemetery was so smooth it was almost a performance in itself.

The show runs until the May 25  and is well worth a visit.

Star rating 7 out of 10  A fine balance between comedy and pathos.

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