Scouse sitcom revived in style

From the left, back, Hannah Stowe and Marcus Hinds and, front, Gil Burns and Sarah Jane Kitchen

From the left, back, Hannah Stowe and Marcus Hinds and, front, Gil Burns and Sarah Jane Kitchen

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The Liver Birds

Hebden Bridge Little Theatre

Hebden Bridge Little Theatre revives this classic TV sitcom reprising the roles of Sandra Hutchinson and Beryl Hennessey.

There’s a chasm of class difference between the two housemates, each being a chip off the old blockess: Sandra’s mother is pretentious while the only thing that’s more vulgar than Beryl is her own mum – played convincingly by Trish Ellis.

Beryl’s life lurches from one crisis to the next but with her new boyfriend Robert (Josh Nutbrown) coming to spend the night, she quickly needs to acquire some refinements to impress him. Step forward Sandra’s mother to instil culture into Beryl’s life with (doomed to fail) elocution and deportment lessons.

The plot is further complicated by Mr Hutchinson’s indifference to his wife; when he comes home from work, she complains, “he pats me on the head and kisses the dog!”

The dialogue is peppered with one liners and the cast do full justice to the comedy writing of Carla Lane and John Chapman. As Beryl prepares for her night of passion, a spot appears on her face. “Oh god,” she quips, “my spots are like dockers – one out, all out!”

Sarah-Jane Kitchen (Beryl) and Gil Burns (Sandra) were flawless in their roles and received strong support from the entire cast. Hannah Stowe was excellent as Mrs Hutchinson. Phil Vaughan camped up his landlord role and Nigel Jamieson played an ardent vicar with designs on Sandra.

Richard Brooks’s impressive directorial debut continues until Saturday.

Simon Wilkinson