Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Writer Nikki Cotter
Blue Park Theatre Company take to the Epstein theatre stage this week with a warm and witty trip down memory lane…or more accurately Goodison Park’s rich history.
The location is the Everton Lock-up on the peak of Everton Brow, Radio Merseyside are recording an interview promoting the anticipated move from Goodison Park to Bramley Moore Dock. Two die-hard Evertonian’s however aren’t quite in agreement with the proposed move and in an act of defiance barge into the Lock-Up and barricade themselves inside in protest.
Jim’s goal is to find Prince Rupert’s gold and use it to save his beloved Goodison Park while nephew Robbo seems happy to come along for the ride. What unfolds however is a remarkable journey through Everton FC’s history taking in some of its most memorable and interesting characters ranging from the mighty Dixie Dean (Joe Shipman), to the iconic Bessie Braddock (Keddy Sutton) and even the flamboyant Prince Rupert himself (Carl Cockram).
Writer Kenny O’Connell succeeds in delivering a hugely entertaining script, with poetry from Bobby Parry this is a rounded piece of theatre complete with bucket loads of Scouse wit as well as deeply moving and poignant moments. The tribute to the victims of Hillsborough which is sensitively and respectfully done via a soulful rendition of The Hollies, He Aint Heavy being particularly moving.
Paul Duckworth and John Burns as Uncle Jim and nephew Robbo head up the talented cast of colourful characters and bounce off each other brilliantly. Each ghost from the past, key figures in Everton’s history; offers further opportunity for laughs along with well constructed and enormously entertaining exchanges. The accompanying video footage from historic games in Everton FC’s incredible history adds gravity to the piece, showcasing rich memories and magical nights at Goodison Park.
There are witty one-liners a plenty, cleverly researched mentions of past players and former managers as well as cheeky opportunities for several laughs at the expense of various figures from the red neighbours across the park which draw huge approval from the many Blues in the audience.
This evening of nostalgia and good-natured comedy will appeal to not only fans of the Blues but football and comedy fans alike. Funny, feel-good & cleverly constructed.
From the Heart of Everton’s Badge To The Grand Old Lady is on at Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre until Saturday 25th August tickets available here.