Liverpool Theatre Festival Of New Works 2021 Review – Bombed Out Church, Liverpool

Liverpool Theatre Festival Of New Works
Image Source: Ticket Quarter

Liverpool Theatre Festival Of New Works is in the books. And what a week of shows it was! In this theatre article, we take a closer look at an LTF extravaganza that provides many lasting memories.

Liverpool Theatre Festival Of New Works

So, this event would be the brainchild of Bill Elms Associates, the team responsible for the main Liverpool Theatre Festival. But the key difference between this and the major LTF in September is the spotlight being on new shows. To clarify, a selection process was held earlier this year to determine which original scripts would reach the stage. And a credible panel would pick out what shows could receive the green light to perform live for the very first time. It’s safe to say that all of the choices were suitable because each of these productions was highly entertaining.

The Shows

We begin with A Brief Conversation About The Inevitability Of Love. This was a look at a mysterious connection between a man and a woman whose paths continuously cross. Next, it was Twice Nightly, a show full of fun and frolics starring an entertainment double-act. After that, we would have The Forgotten Forest. Now, this was an exciting family show focusing on the attempts by magical talking animals to save their forest. Meanwhile, Trapped: 12×8 And String would have two creepy tales with central characters having a sense of mental entrapment. I wonder how many attendees were able to sleep soundly after that particular show!

From there, we would move onto This Skin Of Mine, an edgy show that handles terrible situations with breathtaking comedy. Additionally, we would have the highly informative and educational Paul Robeson’s Love Song. An Audio Play. From there, there was ADHD The Musical: Can I Have Your Attention? This would explain ADHD in an entertaining yet tasteful manner. Next, we would have Superstar, an hour-long snapshot into the world of a man whose world is teetering on the edge.

Heading into the weekend, we would have Now! This show highlights how we must focus on right now. Then, it was Tea Time, a fun perspective of a typical teatime in one neighbourhood. After that, we would have the hilarious Support Your Local Library: The Rock Opera! This was a great and satirical focus on the benefits of libraries for readers young and old. Onto the final day, The Monkey With No Bum would offer a ton of family fun. And finally 12 – The Rainbow Monologues would bring to life a dozen first-person tales from the LGBTQ+ community.

The Venue

The Bombed Out Church, or St. Luke’s Church, was a great venue for last year’s Liverpool Theatre Festival. And it would once again be a perfect backdrop for this year’s event. The open-air setting would receive some assistance with a custom-built tent inside the main concourse of the church. And this would protect the attendees from rainfall, especially on the opening night when a mini-storm was underway. But it would also help to emphasise the warmth of the sunshine over the scorching-hot weekend. So much so that, at times, it was actually warmer inside the church than on the streets!

But it was also superb to see the use of lighting to make the church stand out during shows. And this was especially significant for the nighttime shows. The colourful starlights that would adorn the clock tower of the church would be an incredible sight to behold. It would all add to the unique feeling of this festival; it was something special to be part of this. Not to mention the opportunity to sample drinks outdoors at the church’s lawn-yard bar in between shows. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to experiencing further shows at the Bombed Out Church as the year rolls on, and particularly for the next LTF in September.

The Production

Aside from the tent, there were slight production differences between this festival and the original LTF in 2020. For starters, the stage was at the opposite side with the clock tower sitting behind the performers. This would mean that one could occasionally gaze up in amazement at the backdrop while watching a particular show. Furthermore, there would also be small screens to the side of the stage promoting upcoming shows prior to showtime. Though some shows would incorporate images and video, I would like to see the screens integrate further into shows for the next LTF, even if it’s just to demonstrate the various show logos.

As was the case last year, social distancing would keep the audience seats two metres apart. Additionally, attendees could wear masks for the shows, and we could order beverages using QR codes on the show tickets. And hand sanitisers were around the venue to ensure further cleanliness. I have intrigue, though, to see the September event with a full capacity and no social distancing necessary. As things stand, there won’t be any Covid-19 restrictions for the autumn event, but Government rules could change by then. If not, though, I can’t wait to see a potential audience of hundreds for each and every performance.

The Format

To me, the best thing about a festival is that you get one show after another after another. Although each show was of a high standard, it was great to know that another one was coming right up. And the scheduling would ensure that no two back-to-back shows were the same. Indeed, the running order would allow every consecutive show to stand out from those beforehand or afterwards. And we would have shows catering to all ages and tackling all sorts of social themes. Some would tackle racism, while others would handle homophobia. Meanwhile, a couple of shows were all about having a laugh, while certain shows were incredibly emotional.

And on that point, every show was different. I was fortunate enough to attend almost every production. And I have memories of each one, though some moments particularly stand out. For example, the shocking twist in A Brief Conversation About The Inevitability Of Love. The colourful animal costumes in The Forgotten Forest. Then there’s the tragi-comedy of This Skin In Mine. The outlandish tales of workplace struggles in ADHD The Musical. Plus, the contrast between Duke Harley’s intimidating appearance and occasionally silly mistakes in Superstar. Also, the relevancy of Now! The priceless ad-libs in Support Your Local Library: The Rock Opera! And the catchy songs and positive message of The Monkey With No Bum. These are just some of the memories I will take from the extravaganza.

Summary

All involved, from the production to the performers to the show writers, should be proud of their efforts for Liverpool Theatre Festival Of New Works. Indeed, this was a major success, with every show having a real chance of touring major theatres in the future. And the week as a whole would feel super-special and a snapshot of our moment in time during the pandemic era. So, congratulations to Bill Elms Associates and the team for this event. And I cannot wait for the main Liverpool Theatre Festival to return in September 2021!

Liverpool Theatre Festival Of New Works Further Link

Liverpool Theatre Festival returns at the Bombed Out Church from Wednesday September 1 to Sunday September 12 2021. So, to purchase tickets for any of those shows, please click here.

Did you see any of the shows during Liverpool Theatre Festival Of New Works? Let us know by leaving a comment below!