ONE of the Royal Court's most popular shows is back and, bless my soul, it's as funny as ever.

I should know I was there on the sparkling opening night all those years ago.

Dave Kirby's well-crafted play with soul-ful music was the Royal Court's second ever production in 2007 and returned the next year after breaking box office records in that first run.

Set in the Sunday night pubs and clubs of Liverpool, audiences - me included - related to the places featured in the mental and visual flashbacks from the well-rounded central characters.

I had drank and danced there in the '70s and many a time I walked home alone at 2am in the morning.

I looked great (or thought I did) wearing a velvet jacket, flares, penny-round collars and platform shoes - a waft of scent from a last slowie following me home.

Ah, memories - such golden years.

This updated revival has now been perfectly tweaked.

Lost Soul's two male leads enjoy the Sunday '50s scene in Liverpool's city centre pubs.

They still remind me of The Likely Lads from the telly. For them the only thing to look foward to is the past.

Lost Soul is the tale of two couples: Smigger and Donna, Pat and Terry who were married on the same day but are now scratching their middle-age itches, which are fast becoming rashes.

Disillusioned Pat has walked out on Terry - opting for a daring fling with an angry bouncer called The Lion.

Her best friends are caught up in the storm as a solution is sought.

It is a story based on a real-life encounter writer Dave had when he had indeed met a 'lost soul' who had been stood up in a bar.

The audience lap up every beautifully delivered one-liner and steady flow of cracking, earthy dialogue in the hands of the Royal Court's own unofficial rep company.

Andrew Schofield, Lindzi Germain and Lenny Wood return from the original production.

Unlike Concorde wine they have matured so well.

All three are versatile, top-notch actors who give 100 per cent and know and respect their audience.

Each in their own way offers spot-on timing.

We all know someo someone like likeable, street-wise Lindzi and Andrew Schofield's facial expressions and sheer physicality are his trademarks.

Lenny Wood's barman is simply barmy and brilliant, 'Know worra mean, la?' 

They are now joined by Jake Abraham as Terry in one of his strongest stage portrayals to date.

We care what happens to his character fleshed out without being over sentimental.

Catherine Rice is outstanding as mid-life crisis Pat crying out for love .... even a bunch of flowers from her hubby.

James Spofforth as the bouncer and mobile-clutching Paislie Reid as the young girl complete the well-casted seven-strong ensemble.

Bob Eaton directs superbly on Billy Meall's smashing revolving set that features a living room, trendy bar and Seel Street club.

Smigger and Donna, Terry and Pat can't turn back the clock but for them there's no harm in flicking through the photo album to cherish what they once experienced. It only needs a spark to re-start their fires.

Lost Soul is Dave Kirby finest work from his own six-strong greatest hits collection.

From the start to finish, this soul train of laughter and magical Motown music is right on track.



The show is at the Royal Court until April 8.

Tickets from 0151 709 4321