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Council Depot Blues (Liverpool)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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Venue: Royal Court Theatre

Where: Liverpool

Council Depot Blues is the latest musical comedy production from Kirkby-ite, Dave Kirby. Now, readers, when I refer to Kirkby-ite I do indeed mean Kirkby, which is – Dave Kirby confesses – a rough and tough place, located in the north of Liverpool, to grow up in loving literary and poetry.

But thank G*d Kirby came from this part of the world! Kirby is a genius. He’s a genius because my old man wouldn’t dream in a million years of going to the theatre, yet, because of Kirby, he’s been twice in the last year – this being his second time. And this is because Kirby has hit the right note for many scousers (yep, count my dad in – he’s from Fazakerley) in terms of getting them to watch something on stage rather than on the footy pitch (nothing wrong, however, in that, I might add).

And Kirby has delivered – for me – another brilliant show with Council Depot Blues.

I interviewed the co-writer of Brick Up The Mersey Tunnels and writer of Lost Soul just before Lost Soul was about to be staged for the second time in his home city. He was at the early stages of writing Council Depot Blues back then, but told me it came from his time working in the council depot himself where he met the greatest and funniest characters ever, who, he added, were possibly the laziest men ever!

And, in a nutshell, this is what the play is about. But it’s a bit more deep rooted because the crux of the show is about men wishing their lives away, but never do anything to make it better.

It stars, Alan Bleasdale once told me, ‘the most talented person from Liverpool since John Lennon’ – Andrew Schofield. And few wouldn’t argue with Liverpool’s other genius playwright. Schofield, though, is joined by a brilliant and talented cast.

They delivered Kirby’s words which almost made you lose track you were in the theatre or actually in the depot – it was so real. The one liners were pretty much left to Schofield’s character Danny.

But Jake Abraham – scouser from Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels – shows his hidden talents as a brilliant guitarist, Ex-Brookside actor Paul Broughton wears, within the second act, possibly the craziest trousers ever sewn, Howard Gray’s musical direction is fantastic, and Lindzi Germain really is terrifying as Vera.

But anyone thinking of going to watch this play should do, just to witness the performance of Shaun Mason as Shorty. And scousers will understand exactly what I mean when I say this.

Even if you just like listening to live music, go see it. Because, despite what Mason’s character might say, it is certainly not s***e in this play.

-Michael Hunt


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