Lucky Numbers (Liverpool)
Nana (Sheila Reid) may be losing her mind, yet one thing she never forgets is to place her ‘lucky numbers’ on the Lotto. When they are finally drawn, it is not celebration that is on the cards, but instead a whole series of calamities. Hoping to teach her flawed family a few lessons, Nana proves what power money and determination really can have.
Writer Mike Yeaman provides an outrageously witty script, full of Liverpudlian humour and comedic contemporary references. Yet, what makes this piece so special is his ability to combine the hilarious with the beautiful. Amongst the chaos of a lost lottery ticket, a regrettable love affair and two stereotypical teenagers, Yeaman maturely incorporates a poignant and emotional story of a woman and her family dealing with the demands of dementia.
The show cleverly comprises of short, snappy scenes, meaning that an audience never have time to become bored or restless. The transitions are equally seamless, using lively and appropriate music to maintain the upbeat tempo of the overall piece. Reid is the real bonus ball of the production, her characterisation never faltering. Although the instigator of many disasters, she is so quirky and so cheeky that you cannot help but love her.
She is supported by six fabulous actors and actresses including Pauline Fleming, Kris Mochrie, Mike Neary and Michael Starke, who work superbly well as an ensemble. They may have arguments on stage, but their magic as a group suggests that they are quite the happy family once off it!
Chris Crookall and Rachel Rae are excellent as the spoilt grandchildren, Steven and Lisa. Rae recently took on a similar ‘goth role’ in Merry Ding Dong, which was performed at the Royal Court in December. Her timing is perfect and undoubtedly she is the right girl for the part. However, I would love to see her back at the venue as a totally different character, to truly show off her versatility.
The set is a little too obscure for my liking. Being able to see the family’s house in 3D, when we spend the whole time in the living room doesn’t entirely make sense, but this is a mute point in such a captivating show.
Far from being a lottery loser, this is a winner of a production that is well worth buying a ticket for.