IT'S been a long time since the last press night at the People's Theatre.

The reopening of any venue is rightly celebrated.

Theatre's coming home.

To kick off their much-awaited new production Ellen & Rigby, The Court have brought together Andrew Schofield and Lindzi Germain with a script by Gerry Linford.

Wirral Globe:

Production shot from 'Ellen & Rigby' at Royal Court Liverpool. Picture: Jason Roberts

In the programme notes director Stephen Fletcher thanks Gerry and says "we've had a great time moulding it and bringing it to life."

The end result is a lively lockdown love story with music.

It ticks all the boxes.

This bitter-sweet comedy is a play that allows its two stars to stamp their respective talents on a topical storyline - one everyone can relate to.

Stephen has worked with Drew and Lindzi before and he brings out the best in them - thanks to strong, energetic performances in this two-hander.

On show throughout is Lindzi's ability to switch from foul-mouthed rant to touching tenderness and Andrew's masterful timing and facial expressions.

Wirral Globe:

The Court's love of snappy titles returns, too, but there is no thematic Beatle connection to Ellen & Rigby (Eleanor Rigby for those with a Fab Four mental block) apart from the neatly inserted lines 'All the lonely people. Where do they all belong.'

In over two and a half hours (including interval) we see two worlds collide.

NHS volunteer nurse Ellen is a real shot- in-the-arm for one-time musician Joe Rigby.

He doesn't like people.

She likes him.

Ellen is reminiscent of Shirley Valentine in one respect but instead of talking to the wall like Willy Russell's iconic character, she converses with a poster of a famous heart-throb.

From.lock down to locker love.

Joe, who nearly once made it as a rock star in 1985, talks to his plants.

He even gives them names.

Wirral Globe:

Production shot from 'Ellen & Rigby' at Royal Court Liverpool. Picture: Jason Roberts

The slower paced first half sets the scene for a pacier second half as we see this odd couple not so much fall in love but plày will they . . . won't they pinball.

Music from the likes of Elvis Costello, Kate Bush and Coldplay act as a lyrical backdrop to this roller coaster of emotions.

The revolving set by Alfie Heywood is another top notch creation switching from vaccination clinic to Joe's homely flat.

There's plenty of name checks from South Liverpool to Wirral. Court audiences enjoy such real life connections.

We may see it coming that love eventually finds a way but it's a lot of fun joining Ellen and Joe on their journey - a long and winding road of desperation but ultimate discovery.

Four stars

Home-grown play with a big heart.

Until July 31

0151 709 4321