REVIEW: Council Depot Blues @ Royal Court 20/07/10

Dave Kirby’s smash hit comedy Council Depot Blues is back at the Royal Court this summer. Ian D. Hall went along to see if the working class comedy still held its charm…

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It seems Davy Kirby can do no wrong when it comes to observing the characters and situations that make Liverpool such a unique city, with Brick up the Mersey Tunnels and Lost Soul having received critical and commercial acclaim over the last couple of years, the time was right to let Council Depot Blues have another turn at the Royal Court Theatre.
{pgomakase}For anybody who remembers working for the “Corpy” this play will bring memories flooding back to them, both good and bad! The bullying that went on if your face didn’t fit, the deals which kept certain people sweet and the constant clocking in and clocking out, day after day till the day came when you had to retire.
This is the premise behind the show, with Stan, played to perfection by Phil Hearne, facing up to and seemingly relishing his last day on the job after 42 years. As Stan and those he has worked with go to empty one last house together where as with any Dave Kirby play, chaos, intrigue, friendship and laughter come home to roost.
Combine this with a stunning musical backdrop and the play really takes off, with every conceivable blues song getting the “Liverpool” treatment. It might make blues purists seethe but hearing Bob Dylan being reworked with such tenderness is a joy to behold.
{pullquote}a performance of genuine warmth, character and thought{/pullquote}This play proves once again how good the Liverpool theatre scene is, with local actors all playing their part superbly, from Howard Gray’s portrayal of posh drunk Norman whose love of Shakespeare and acting often rankles with his wife, Andrew Schofield’s loveable chancer Danny who dreams every day of being out of the job and finally living and Shaun Mason who plays wannabe drug lord Shorty, whose voice alone (especially when startled by a rat) is worth the entrance fee.
The Royal Court has once more put on a performance of genuine warmth, character and thought. It is to the credit of the theatre that they are able to produce such plays and musicals of this stature.   {sharethis}
Ian D. Hall

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