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By the Waters of Liverpool

Updated: Aug 3, 2021

Rob Fennah, adap from the novel by Helen Forrester

Pulse Records Ltd, in association with Bill Elms

Floral Pavilion, New Brighton, Merseyside

3 – 8 March 2020, then touring: Stockport Mar 10-12, Warrington Mar 14-15, Lancaster Mar 23-24, Liverpool May 4-9, Blackpool May 11-13 and other venues. See link below. Duration: 2hr 30min

The cast of By the Waters of Liverpool at New Brighton's Floral Pavilion. All pics: Anthony Robling
The cast of By the Waters of Liverpool at New Brighton's Floral Pavilion. All pics: Anthony Robling

This new production and tour of the play adapted from a couple of author Helen Forrester’s popular autobiographical novels is by way of a tribute for the centenary of her birth: she died in 2011 aged 92. These performances at the Floral Pavilion, New Brighton begin an 11-week UK tour.

Born June Hubbard, this fictionalised account of her early life – writing under the pen name Helen Forrester - describes growing up in 1930s Liverpool. Her father (Mark Moraghan) is unable to find work and spends both time and money in the pub. Her mother (Sian Reeves ) is bitter at the change in

the family’s fortune from comfortable middle-class life in the south west of England to working class Liverpool.

Helen (Lucy Dixon) is taken out of school to care for her younger siblings, but this modern-day Cinderella is rescued from domestic drudgery by a "godmother" in the form of Miss Finch (Chloe McDonald) who finds her a job and the beginnings of independence.

Gareth Tudor Price's production advances through a series of tableaux. The story follows the fortunes of the Forrester family, and Helen in particular, through the 1930s Depression and the war years as acted (and narrated) by Helen, who speaks directly to the audience.

Described as "a stunning period drama", this production is an interesting mix of dramatic and autobiographical storytelling – which can become stereotypical. It can lose the essential dramatic tension of what happens next; with this format we either already know – having read the books if we are fans of Forrester's novels, or are about to be told.

Next stop on the premiere UK tour is the Plaza Theatre, Stockport - Helen’s home town - from March 10-12.

More info: click here


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