Murder, Mayhem & Magic, Bombed Out Church, Liverpool Review

Murder, Mayhem & Magic
Image source: AllEvents.in

Show: Murder, Mayhem & Magic (as part of the Little Liverpool Theatre Festival)
Venue: Bombed Out Church, Liverpool
Date: 7th May 2022
Time: 14:30
Company: A Place For Us
Age Rating: 7+
Running Time: 60 minutes

Murder, Mayhem & Magic Description

This child-oriented play within a play follows William “Shakey” Shakespeare and his two helpers in an interactive story. Having misplaced his scripts and lost his cast to the plague, Shakespeare arrives at the Elizabethan court discombobulated and sweaty under his neck ruff. He requires a touch of Magic and help from the audience to piece his performance together before the Queen’s arrival! Full of Mayhem, this hour long family show covers some of Shakespeare’s most famous scenes. Including scenes from Macbeth, Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the quirky characters perform ‘from memory’!

Analysis

Being an adult in my twenties on the front row of a crazy slapstick performance by three children’s entertainer level enthusiastic actors without having brought a child along with me was… actually quite a laugh! Aside from the obvious slight awkwardness of eye contact with another grown adult dressed as a witch and cackling not much further than a foot away from me, it was a brilliant family production.

A Place For Us aims to “engage, inspire and create high quality inclusive cultural experiences that raise aspiration and have a positive impact” on local and the wider community. Murder, Mayhem & Magic encapsulates that. It not only engaged children in literary history and theatre but allowed them to feel part of something bigger than them, something fictional and creative and harmlessly crazy; an escape from anything and everything currently going on outside of those church walls.

One of my favourite parts was the rendition of one of the nation’s most-loved songs only with a different sweet leading character. The subtle, throwing the adults a bone, witty comments were much enjoyed also. Shakespeare’s comedic timing was fantastic, in fact they each bounced off each other well, somewhat chaotically, but it worked! Imagine Horrible Histories with a dollop of Dick and Dom.

Further Thoughts

The play previously sold out Smithills Hall in Bolton in Shakespeare Week earlier this year! This time in the grounds of Liverpool’s beautiful Bombed Out Church, the trio performed for twenty-odd just as I imagine they would for a full auditorium. As a non-performer, I admire the confidence to deliver such a high-energy, off-the-wall performance with an almost equal child-to-adult ratio staring back at them.

For their sake and talent, I only wished there was a larger turn-out. It was an absolute winner with the families and the cast were fantastic with the children and their different characters and levels of willingness to take part. They allowed those more confident to chime in wherever they felt and engaged with their reactions throughout.

I can really imagine Murder, Mayhem & Magic in a venue like the Everyman! With more dramatic lighting, a bunch of crazier costumes and the audience energy of this performance times 10! I don’t doubt it would be a school’s out summer holiday hit.

Murder, Mayhem & Magic Summary

Murder, Mayhem & Magic is an outrageously fun, nowhere-to-hide, immersive piece of community theatre during which you just couldn’t possibly force your face to not show your amusement! And when I say amusement, I do mean laughing at the cast, but that is clearly the point of the play – to find the characters and their wacky movements and voices funny in a you look ridiculous and the kids are loving it kind of way. Maybe if I left you with flourescent yellow stockings, fake blood and ass/donkey mix-up you’d get the picture!

Overall Rating: 7/10

Further Links

You can find more information about A Place For Us on their website or their socials – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.