Written By: Mark Armstrong
Date: February 2 2017
Location: Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool
Brick Up 2 – The Wrath Of Ann Twacky is the long-awaited sequel to Brick Up The Mersey Tunnels, a previous and fondly-remembered Liverpool theatre show which had audiences in heaps of laughter every night – and I can tell you that the follow-up achieves the same goal.
In the previous show, the central characters wished to have the Mersey Tunnels bricked up to keep out their “nosy neighbours” from voer the water, i.e. the Wirral. In this show, the plot is in reverse, as it’s now the residents from the Wirral and Cheshire who are looking to prevent the Scousers from passing through the tunnel to their side of the River Mersey.
Ann Twacky, whose character is inspired by and even pledges allegiance to Margaret Thatcher, and her friends over in Cheshire disapprove of the increasing influence of Liverpudlians, in particular Dickie Lewis, on the likes of her husband Dennis. They realise that the only way to stop them is to use their connections to have the Tunnel bricked up again, but this time on their side.
Only thing is, Dickie and co are alread a few steps ahead, and are planning to bring about an explosion via the very brick-laying job that they are working on, using dynamite, to benefit in the same financial manner that they did from their alleged destruction of the Runcorn Bridge. There are other side-plots along the way, including a rekindled romance and another developing love story which doesn’t quite go to plan.
The theme here is pure comedy, and based on the content, nothing is intended to be taken seriously by the audience. That’s not to discredit the story; it’s just to ensure that anybody taken aback by the frequent insults thrown from both side of the Mersey, or from the amusing comments levelled at all of the local football clubs at various points, are not designed to offend. Some may be put off by the fairly strong sexual themes at various points of the show, but since this is aimed at an older audience – and more so, a crowd which will likely have seen the original Brick Up production – this shouldn’t be too much of a deterrent.
I personally found the show to be very funny, in particular the one-liners from Andrew Schofield, a longtime fixture of the local comedy theatre scene who always finds new ways to get the audience laughing out loud, as well as himself at times when ad-libs take over the script. The other characters have their moments to shine, particularly Dennis whose simple yet very authentic adopting of a stereotypical Crocky teenager is spot-on. There were quite a few songs in the show, all of which were comedy-based with some based on actual tunes, although there was a fairly significant number of these songs which didn’t quite get as many laughs as the cast might have expected. It was also hard occasionally to hear what the characters were saying, and harking back to my previous points, the sound on some of the songs (especially at the start and end) was a bit hit-and-miss, which perhaps explains why some may have misfired, so to speak. But the show as a whole is well worth watching, and there are plenty of nods to Liverpool life and culture along the way, as well as some realistic settings (such as your typical small cafe that you’ll find almost anywhere in the city).
It may not be to everybody’s tastes, but assuming that you enjoy local humour and are not opposed to the frequent sexual innuendos, Brick Up 2 is a very funny show and one that measures up to the standard of the previous Brick Up production.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10 – Excellent