brick up - the wirral strikes backWhere to start? Firstly, an acknowledgement: we’ve revered the revolution on Roe Street at the Royal Court. You know, the popular renaissance taking place thanks to comedies from Willy Russell, Alan Bleasdale and new kids on the block, Dave Kirby and Nicky Allt. The most popular of which, by some distance, was Brick Up The Mersey Tunnels. True, it may have been broader than Michael Starke in Hairspray and eclipsed – at least, artistically – by the likes of Stags & Hens and Lost Soul, but it was a start.

It seems a pity, then, that writer Allt didn’t know when to put the trowel down and stop with this one. As Brick Up: The Wirral Strikes Back isn’t very good. It’s not even very funny. And it knows it. Pantomime performances from a cast as camp as Christmas (the indefatigable Eithne Browne aside), timing and lighting cues cock-ups and an audience who collectively lost their wind following the interval.

The flimsy plot didn’t help: Wirral businessman William Laird (Dean Sullivan as far removed from the passion of latter-day Jimmy Corkill as you could get) tries to take advantage of Kensington scally Vinnie Kelly, by inviting him into the family business.

Cue stereotypes flying around quicker than pints on a Saturday afternoon in The Liffey. They were all there: Laird’s children portrayed as a jolly hockey sticks daughter and a Tim-nice-but-dim son; the Kelly family conforming to every Kenny’ trick going, including listening to Shack! But nothing got going. Stereotypes can work, but only when based in reality. Not when built upon post- modern, perceived notion.

We wanted to root for the Kelly family, but couldn’t… as we don’t know anyone like them. They’re not familiar to us.

And therein lies the rub: the sequel to Brick Up has lost its heart, soul and reality; while looking for the underwear it has flashed towards the highest bidder. True, we laughed at a few lines. But our heart wasn’t in it.

Maybe we’re not the only ones…

Review by Alan O’Hare

Brick Up: The Wirral Strikes Back
Until 18 September
Liverpool Empire

  • musicmb

    £30 a ticket for what?????!!!!! The actors have done well to repeat a God damn awful script on a daily basis! The lack of laughs for a sequel to “Brick-up” only reflected how poor this production actually was. Hang your head in shame Mr. Allt. You’ve done a Mr. Laird and managed to screw alot of hard-earned money out of the local public. I resent every penny that we have spent to sit through this trash. £15 an hour, I could’ve had a better night in the house watching the BBC test card!!!