Hot off the stage: Five-star tale at Liverpool Playhouse

Hot off the stage: Five-star tale at Liverpool Playhouse

Dominic Marsh as Macheath. Picture: Steve Tanner

Giles King as Colin Lockit and Audrey Brisson as Lucy Lockit in the production. Picture: Steve Tanner

First published in News
Last updated

KNEEHIGH Theatre, in their first co-production with Everyman and Playhouse have shown why they have such a solid reputation built over 30 creative years.

Dead Dog In A Suitcase and Other Love Stories is the third in-house production from the award-winning team at E&P. So this is a great union.

And again, life in Hope Street is always full of surprises.

This production will have you thinking, singing along and leaving open-mouthed at Cornwall-based Kneehigh's sheer skill in telling a story.

It is surreal ...

Sad, happy, fun but, at times, deadly sinister and serious, too.

The curious title is only the beginning as audiences enjoy this reworking of The Beggars Opera written in 1728 by John Gay.

In the hands of Kneehigh, who are one of the UK's greatest ensemble companies, you are in for a treat.

Written by Carl Grose and with music by Charles Hazlewood and directed by Mike Shepherd, this show is one of those productions that was tailor-made for the Everyman of old and, happily, the Everyman of new.

They use the space to maximum effect from a Jailhouse Rock scaffolding backdrop to adaptable simple tables tables and a fireman's pole.

The actors and musicians treat us to a journey that encompasses all our musical roots from ska to punk, soul to ballads.

There's a wonderful Ian Dury sequence, too.

It is a unique concept performed with exhilarating performances from the eleven-strong cast.

There are times when you lose track of who killed who and why ... and just marvel at the dexterity of the various 'suitcases' that appear with their weird handlers which confuse and illuminate in equal measure.

Kneehigh makes you work as hard as they do as they run through this morality tale from stunning start to spellbinding finale.

It is set before Mack The Knife, that Brechtian villain, arrived on the scene so you can see where the story is coming from.

Murder, mirth, mayhem and magnificent music - what a menu!

It reminded me of the film Brighton Rock and even some of Quentin Tarrantino's work.

Carly Bawden as Polly Peachum, Andrew Durand as Filch and Dominic Marsh as Macheath are actors who give their all.

To name everyone else would take all night - but they all contribute so much collectively and individually.

It us one of those shows that pays homage to so many genres that you want to go back and see it again and again.

A masterstroke from E&P and Kneehigh.

Spectacular in every sense - sound and vision.

Punch and Judy, courtesy of Sarah Wright's scary puppets, appear throughout from start to bitter end.

Kneehigh know - when it comes to unique theatre - that's the way to do it.

Five stars

The show is at the Playhouse until July 12. Tickets are from the box office on 0151 709 4776.

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