As pupils and teachers across the country prepare to head back to school this September, Willy Russell revisits the Royal Court in Liverpool with a revival of last year’s musical version of his school-themed play Our Day Out.

At just over two hours, the story takes audiences on a rollercoaster of emotions which is brought through a talented bunch of young actors, singers, and dancers.

A school ‘progress class’ are promised a day out to Alton Towers but are taken on a trip to North Wales instead. What follows is everything you might expect from a group of unruly children while an underlining sub plot of escapism and freedom is created.

New to this year’s production are Pauline Daniels, as Mrs Kay, and Mark Moraghan, as Mr Briggs. Daniels is certainly convincing as the teacher with a sense of fun, and Moraghan, as the teacher of discipline, is absolutely superb, his transition from being detestable to likeable is cleverly performed.

Funny moments involve the versatile Kieran Cunningham as the blind lollipop man Les, as well as the use of real animals, from an alpaca to a pig, during a zoo scene, and a scene involving a young boy stealing a condom machine.

As for the songs, ‘We’re Going Out Today (With Mrs Kay)’, ‘Boss Of Bus’, and ‘Scream If You Wanna Go Faster’, will have you tapping your foot, while ‘Beach Boy’, performed by Georgina White, will have your sides splitting from laughter.

The younger cast members are led once again by Abby Mavers, as Carlene, Sophie Fraser, as Jackie, Chris Mason, as Reilly, and Jack Rigby, as Digga, and all execute their roles with the same aplomb and familiar hilarity.

Youngster Mia Molley is also back on the Court stage as Amy, a girl from a volatile home, and shows a maturity in her performance together with an angelic voice.

So, all in all, it’s top marks for Russell and Bob Eaton, back on directing duties, for staging another excellent show. Thus highlighted further by what is now becoming a customary standing ovation for their efforts.

-Michael Hunt