THE 'Scottish Play' is an alternative name for Shakespeare's Macbeth.

The Bard's tale of murder and mayhem within a dysfunctional royal family has been plagued by curses. So, for the purpose of this review, I shall refer to this new work - Macca and Beth - as 'The Scotland Road Play.'

Gerry Linford, who wrote The Miracle of Great Homer, Ellen and Rigby and The Menlove Avenue Murder Mystery is building up a varied folio of work as a regular playwright at the Court.

His latest, however, is by far his most uneven. And there's the rub.

The Covid curse certainly slowed its progress on getting on the stage.

Sadly, the Shakespearean tragedy here is that it can't make up its mind what it wants to be and that's a pity, because it clearly starts out with great potential.

It is not a farce - as that artful genre needs impeccable timing - and it's not an out-and-out laugh-out-loud production.

It is best summed up as a one episode, frenetic surreal sit-com.

Wirral Globe:

Production shot from 'Macca and Beth' by Jason Roberts

The action all takes place on an atmospheric, dusty Scottish stately home set designed by Olivia Du Monceau.

This is where Macca (Danny O'Brien) has been summoned from his home near Goodison to Inverness in a July where a snowstorm has replaced the sunshine.

Macca has brought begrudging wife Beth (Emma Bispham) with him and she knows nothing of his impending inheritance.

They call each other rude names in a romance with all the hallmarks of a bickering Scouse couple but we find - deep down - they love each other.

The house features paintngs of the late Uncle Dougal, whom Macca doted on.

We also meet some exceedingly odd characters including gamekeepoer Angus and a whisky-swigging house-keeper.

Maybe one eccentric would have sufficed here.

There's also a mistaken identity plot line featuring an escaped convict and a prison guard. Add to the list of oddballs a violin-playing solicitor called Ophelia Glass (Karen Young) who undergoes an implausible personality change by the end of the two-hour comic caper.

Versatile Danny O'Brien is the glue that keeps it all together as we await the reading of the will at midnight. Madcappery fills the gaps till we reach a very bizarre finale.

It is a departure for the Court - as it's not set on Merseyside and there are some fresh faces joining in the seven-strong cast.

Macca and Beth feels as if it is a play within a play - especially when the fourth wall is broken throughout.

Globe verdict: Three stars - off kilter

It is the Royal Court until May 28.

Tickets from the box office on 0151 709 4321.