The Liverpool Playhouse has some great looking plays and events lined up for its autumn and winter season, ranging from an adaptation of Dostoevsky’s classic novel Crime and Punishment to a one-man show by comedian Mark Thomas, a stage version of 1984, the traditional rock’n’roll pantoand an intriguing new play set in a Lancashire scrapyard.
Crime and Punishment(1 – 19 October) has been adapted by Chris Hannan, who describes the story of a young man who murders a pawnbroker as ‘like a whodunit where Karl Marx meets Jesus Christ.’ He says he’s fascinated by the links between the novel and Dostoevsky’s own life. ‘He’s not writing from an ivory tower – he had an unbelievably dramatic life and it’s all there in the book. He was a revolutionary who was harried and interrogated by the secret police, then nearly shot by a firing squad, only to be reprieved at the last minute and imprisoned. The story’s written from the point of view of a murderer, and he met many actual murderers in prison.’
On a lighter note, this year’s rock’n’roll panto is Aladdin (29 November – 18 January). The usual winning blend of music and comic mayhem is promised by regular writers Sarah A. Nixon and Mark Chatterton.
There are more laughs in Scrappers (Playhouse Studio, 24 October – 16 November), Daniel Matthew’s poignant inter-generational comedy which portrays a small group of scrap merchants, scratching a living out of other people’s unwanted gems and threatened by the decline of their beloved industry. The play went down a storm in a rehearsed reading at last year’s Everyword Festival.
Kicking off the season is Melody Loses Her Mojo (20 – 28 September), a production by the 20 Stories High company, whose Ghost Boy was a big hit at the Everyman in 2010. The company specialises in productions that appeal to young people, and Melody Loses Her Mojo, written and directed by Keith Saha, is a play about the care system that incorporates dazzling visual effects, live music and puppetry.
Single performance shows include the groundbreaking ventriloquist Nina Conti (26 October), who’ll be introducing the audience to her daughter, her handyman, her gran, her oldest friend and a stray dog. In 100 Acts Of Dissent (22 October), comedian and political activist Mark Thomas describes what happened when he set himself the task of committing a hundred rebellious acts over the course of a year.
Two touring productions coming to the Playhouse this year are a major new stage version of George Orwell’s 1984(29 October – 2 November), and The Grand Gesture(12 – 16 November), a riotous comedy about an unemployed man who’s on the edge.
Last but not least, for October half term there’s also The Snail And The Whale (23 – 25 October), a musical comedy for everyone aged 4 and up, about a tiny snail’s efforts to save a huge beached whale.