After the success of the beloved Twopence to Cross the Mersey Rob Fennah brings another adaptation of Helen Forrester’s real life tales to the Floral Pavilion stage. Now looking on 24 years later, we follow the journey of Helen and her family’s struggles of starting their new life in Liverpool. By The Waters Of Liverpool paints a picture of Liverpool in the 1930s during the turmoils of the Second World War.
A relatively young Helen and her poverty stricken family try to tackle life after moving to Liverpool but are struggling to find a solution to their money problems and dealing with the profound effects of living through a War. Determined to help her family, and to make a better life for herself, Helen seeks employment and battles to prove her worth as a successful and independent working woman.
The narrative was passed between characters to then direct thoughts to the audience, enabling for the progression of the story and even foretelling the stage directions that were about to happen. This was an interesting approach that ensured the audience were on the same journey of that of the characters, which meant that each scene was clear and concise, yet leaved little to the imagination.
Richard Foxton’s scenic backdrop design depicted the iconic Liverpool landmarks and cityscape, whilst swift set changes between scenes effortlessly transformed the stage into new appearances.
The high standard of acting saw most of the cast doubling up as other characters and multi rolling throughout which proved highly impressive and entertaining. Lucy Dixon engrossed the audience throughout with her portrayal of Helen; proving to be the perfect leading lady with her performance highlighting the strive for success and determination that she had to take in order to live a better life.
Authentic Liverpudlian accents could have really captured the true stories and journeys of those living in Liverpool during the Second World War, but with the majority of the cast keeping their original accents it meant that, at times, the play could have been set anywhere.
With that said, the audience enjoyed the common Liverpool references throughout the story that brought back the sense of familiarity and made the performance feel more relatable. Character’s told the adventures of Helen’s long walks to work from Bootle and her days on busy Bold Street which really added to that sense of nostalgia for the audience.
At times the music and some of the stage directions made it appear almost overly dramatic meaning the occasional moments became unintentionally humorous and that unfortunately, some of the true gritty and heartfelt moments were lost in the story.
The performance was enjoyable and represented a powerful and truthful account of Helen Forrester’s life during an important historical time, and in a very important place!
By The Waters Of Liverpool tells a heartwarming tale and brings a story to life on the stage. It offers the chance to reminisce times gone by and to be transported back to Liverpool in the 1930s.
By The Waters of Liverpool is at the Floral Pavilion from 3 – 8 March before continuing its UK tour.