Review: HAUNTED SCOUSE, Liverpool's Royal Court

This beautifully written and moving production is a must-see!

By: Feb. 19, 2024
Review: HAUNTED SCOUSE, Liverpool's Royal Court
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Review: HAUNTED SCOUSE, Liverpool's Royal Court Following the success of plays including Yellow Breck Road and Ellen and Rigby, writer Gerry Linford returns to Liverpool’s Royal Court with the heartwarming comedy-drama Haunted Scouse.

The story follows Molly Moon, who is missing her recently departed husband Charlie. However on the anniversary of his death, Charlie returns and begins to haunt their home. With secrets to be revealed, Charlie tries to solve the riddle of his death with the help of his Auntie Peggy - but what will he discover?

Well, there are no spoilers here. As always, I will never reveal what happens. However, what I will say is that Haunted Scouse has plenty of twists and turns that will have you guessing until the very last minute.

With the entire play taking place in the living room of the Moon family home, the attention to detail in Ellie Light’s set, Ian Scott’s lighting and Jamie Jenkins’ video design cleverly distinguishes between the Moon family home and moments when Charlie is talking to his late Auntie Peggy. For example, when Charlie is talking to Auntie Peggy, the colour of his portrait on the living room wall changes and blue smoke is projected onto the ceilings. However, the portrait and ceilings change back to their original colours when the action returns to the Moon family home. This allows the story to transition seamlessly from one scene to the next.

Review: HAUNTED SCOUSE, Liverpool's Royal Court

While the pace of the story is slow at first, the action quickly moves forward with the arrival of the ghost of Auntie Peggy, who helps Charlie to find out what happened on the day he died. Helen Carter delivers an outstanding and energetic performance as Auntie Peggy, while her renditions of sixties pop classics including "I Say a Little Prayer" are phenomenal and have you singing along throughout.

Carter and the cast all deliver brilliant performances and work well together onstage. Paul Duckworth’s neighbour Gordon and Julie Glover’s neighbour Linda create many hilarious moments, while Glover also steals the show as her character transforms into other characters onstage (again, no spoilers here), heightening her vocals and physicality to such comic effect that my jaw ached from laughing.

Review: HAUNTED SCOUSE, Liverpool's Royal Court

Michael Starke and Lynn Francis are flawless throughout as Charlie and Molly Moon. Whether it is Starke’s amusing reactions to Paul Duckworth’s self-obsessed neighbour or Francis’ witty one-liners, they both have me crying with laughter. These tears of laughter soon turn into tears of sadness, in an emotional finale that left the audiences reaching for the tissues. Even when they are not speaking, their physicality says so much about how the characters are feeling. It is a beautiful and emotive finale that will stay with me for a long time.

A story of love, loss and the afterlife, this beautifully written and moving production is a must-see.

Haunted Scouse is at Liverpool's Royal Court until 9 March 2024.

Photo credits: Jason Roberts Photography