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Hope Place - Everyman Theatre - 13th May 2014



I'm FINE we're all FINE!




Number 8 Hope place is about to give up some of its family secrets and the audience was gathered to witness the event. Michael Wynne provides us with a stunningly well written plot based around this family home, whilst Peter McKintosh’s amazing set provides the perfect backdrop for what is about to unfold. Directed by Rachel Kavanaugh the story begins in 1699 and from the outset takes us on a journey through the history of Liverpool, and the area around Hope Place in particular. The stage lighting by Tim Lutkin, provides just the right ambiance for this production.

Maggie played by Eileen O'Brien, the sole occupant of this Georgian house now that her mother has passed away, gathers together with her brothers and sister following her mothers funeral. Her siblings all have their own lives and families and it is Maggie who has remained in the family home all these years. Her sister Veronica and brothers Eric and Jack, along with her niece Josie and Josie’s boyfriend Simon are all here with her to have a drink, eat the customary ham sandwiches and reminisce about the past. Searching for the truth within a fog of family folklore it is to Simon (the posh one from Birkenhead) that Maggie turns for help. Simon is studying for a PhD in history and is anxious to delve into the family history surrounding 8 Hope Place and write a thesis. However, searching family history is not without drawbacks, we don't always find what we hoped there are often skeletons in the cupboard and this becomes evident as events unfold.

Played out in the present day the story is enhanced by well timed flashbacks that give us a clearer understanding of past events. Interspersed with the typical Liverpool humour that scousers seem to fall back on in even the most tragic of circumstances, the reality of Liverpool life shines through. This story is a typical look at the lives of normal working class people and one that many will be able to relate to.

After the interval we returned to the auditorium to a surprise opening to the second act, a very pleasant surprise at that and one which I know the audience enjoyed and you will if you have’nt seen it yet... I shall keep the details of that bit of the performance under my hat... save to say it gave us a chance to enjoy the sound, designed by Fergus O'Hare and the music by Isobel Waller-Bridge.

The cast includes Joe McGann and Neil Caple as brothers Eric and Jack, as the local tour guide Jack adds his own unique blend of humour to the production as does Tricia Kelly their sister Veronica. Young Josie, Emma Lisi and her boyfriend Simon played by Ciaran Kellgren, also give outstanding performances as does Alan Stocks who as well as playing the families late father, Mr Maguire also plays a Farmer, Richard Byrne,Craig,Jonathan and Rob. The Children, who play in alternate productions are, Freya Barnes and Julia Carlile, young Veronica, Kaitlyn Hogg and Rumah Norton, young Maggie, Frank Turpin, young Eric and George Turpin, young Eric and young Jack and Harry Turpin, young Eric and Sam Vaughan. Young Jack. 

For me the star of the show was Eileen O’Brien, her character Maggie made me feel laugh out loud happy, unbelievably sad and joyful and triumphant all in the space of two hours and fifteen minutes. What a lady!

I went along to this performance expecting to see something good and saw something amazing, without a doubt the Everyman is back, and back with a bang! This is a performance you should not miss.

Hope Place is at the Everyman from 9 - 31 May 2014. 







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By Robert F Edwards
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