Heading out to The Gladstone Theatre in Port Sunlight to watch Helen Forrester’s ‘By the waters of Liverpool’ on a Thursday evening, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Having missed the performance in Liverpool at The Auditorium/M&S Bank due to illness I was keen to finally catch the adaptation of Helen Forrester’s book.
The play is written by Rob Fennah and directed by Gareth Tudor Price.
Set in 1939 and on the edge of war, the play sets the scene with opening sound bytes from the cabinet room of 10 Downing Street. A story of a family who moved ‘up north’ to Liverpool after a disastrous loss on the stock market, leaving them with no money and onto a new life path.
From the word go we feel the struggle of the family and of how brutal life could be. Struggles for money and war looming, the play does give the watcher a small glimpse of hope and light with the story of Helen.
With a cast of nine, eight of whom play various roles, interchanging seamlessly between acts, the story flows wonderfully. The plight of the leading character Helen was perfectly portrayed by Emma Mulligan who shone on the stage, taking on the lead role with confidence and working through a whole array of emotions across each scene.
In fact the whole cast deserve credit, changing into different characters throughout the story, making each one individual and stamping their own mark on each role.
The stage at The Gladstone Theatre isn’t the biggest, however the cast used it well and it never felt confined. From walking the streets of Liverpool, to being in the family front room and also a dance school, it all worked.
Amongst the woe of war looming and money struggles, the play made sure there were beams of happiness entwined across the story. Helen’s journey to getting a job against her family wishes and her search for love. A scene in the hairdressers was a comedy delight and brought laughs from the audience.
If you’re a fan of Helen Forrester’s books you really should go and see this production. Even if you have never read one of the books before (like me) I would encourage you to book your ticket.
A wonderful cast, great direction and a story that you need to be told.
After playing Liverpool and Wirral, the production now hits the road. Get details on venues and book your tickets here > www.bythewatersofliverpool.com/Tickets.html
5/5 Review Stars