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REVIEW: Double Bill Of Dark Comedy — 'Dirty Old Town' & 'Out The Woodwork' At Hope Street Theatre

HOPE STREET THEATRE, THE KNOWLEDGE QUARTER, LIVERPOOL CITY CENTRE, CITY OF LIVERPOOL, LIVERPOOL CITY REGION, UK.

REVIEW: SHOW ONE Marigold Lately In 'Dirty Old Town' Is A Brilliantly Bonkers One-Woman Show Filled To The Brim With An Eclectic Mix Of Outrageous, Surrealist Dark Humour

'Dirty Old Town' at The Hope Street Theatre in Liverpool City Centre (Credit: Andrew AB Photography/Image was provided to The Liverpudlian to share, courtesy of the Publicist on behalf of their client. We make no claim to this content).
'Dirty Old Town' at The Hope Street Theatre in Liverpool City Centre (Credit: Andrew AB Photography/Image was provided to The Liverpudlian to share, courtesy of the Publicist on behalf of their client. We make no claim to this content).

A Brilliantly bonkers variety performance filled with plenty of absurdist humour, unexpected performances of which some are abruptly abandoned for seemingly spur-of-the-moment improvised segments, and audience interactions.


Marigold Lately introduces herself in a feature show lasting almost an hour, for her first stage debut. Taking place over the course of three nights at Hope Street Theatre in Liverpool City Centre.


Firstly, in order to understand more of what is going on, let's see what the show's synopsis tells us: Mikyla Jane Durkan's 'Dirty Old Town': Introducing Marigold Lately — a one-woman show of despair, disappointment and dismemberment. The show is a combination of storytelling, stand-up comedy and performance. It is hilariously NOT funny.


If that synopsis which offered very little insight into the show left you intrigued, then you're in luck. As the show progresses, you are regularly provided with, you guessed it — next to no insight as to what was going on. Something which Marigold does acknowledge at the start of the show.


Though, the lack of context didn't remotely dampen the fun, as evident from the giggles and uncontrollable laughter from members of the audience at various points throughout the show.


Marigold Lately was born in the Autumn of 2022. Having since performed at almost 100 comedy and spoken word events throughout the North West of England.

'Dirty Old Town' at The Hope Street Theatre in Liverpool City Centre (Credit: Andrew AB Photography/Image was provided to The Liverpudlian to share, courtesy of the Publicist on behalf of their client. We make no claim to this content).
'Dirty Old Town' at The Hope Street Theatre in Liverpool City Centre (Credit: Andrew AB Photography/Image was provided to The Liverpudlian to share, courtesy of the Publicist on behalf of their client. We make no claim to this content).

It is a show that Marigold Lately knew that people might find confusing, which you could well say, was planned, as a somewhat extension of the show, especially with such an interesting yet vague synopsis. It's not a monologue, or a musical, nor a drama, it's not a play, oh, and it's definitely NOT funny. Though, it is a combination of various elements of performing arts that flow in such a disconnected way that they are by that very nature, connected. Disconnectedly connected. You could say. It is a mixture of adult stand-up comedy and various dramatic performances, with each piece telling a story of the characters from the Dirty Old Town.


Brimming with a variety of tales, observations and insights. Marigold is racing from one scene to the next, yet still taking the time to immerse herself in each story that the scene is offering.


Despite this type of show naturally not being for everyone due to the nature of its contents; it offers plenty of variety in regards to performance, a genuine and heartfelt look at society and its priorities, and plenty of opportunities to just have a good laugh at the most utterly random topics you will not even begin to imagine.


Make no mistake, this is an exceptionally dark piece of performing arts. It covers some deeply saddening subjects. It is evocative and sincere. And very NOT funny.

'Dirty Old Town' achieves its niche in the Liverpool and wider North West Theatre Scene well, 4 Stars. If you have the chance to see Marigold Lately perform, and a variety show with a large dose of an irreverent sense of humour is your type of thing, then make sure to pick up a ticket.


REVIEW: SHOW TWO — Lee Clotworthy's 'Out The Woodwork' Is A Great Example Of The Brilliant & Original Stories Coming Out Of The Liverpool City Region Theatre Scene

The dramatic scenes of 'Out The Woodwork' unfolding (Credit: Andrew AB Photography/Image was provided to The Liverpudlian to share, courtesy of the Publicist on behalf of their client. We make no claim to this content).
The dramatic scenes of 'Out The Woodwork' unfolding (Credit: Andrew AB Photography/Image was provided to The Liverpudlian to share, courtesy of the Publicist on behalf of their client. We make no claim to this content).

Out The Woodwork is a fantastic example of the talent that is coming out of the theatrical venues across the Liverpool City Region.


I was perched on the top row of the theatre. The venue was brimming with guests, building up to a sold-out Saturday night showing.


Comprising of a cast of six, this play follows the story of a relatable everyday Mum, 'Pat', who is busy running a family, working, and trying to balance all of the intricacies of the challenges that life can throw at you.


Inviting her best friend 'Lins' to her house for the Finale of The X-Factor, they round off the evening by checking their Lottery numbers. Clutched in her trembling hands, the winning ticket. Pat is hit with disbelief that she has, in fact, just won £30 Million.


Lins, excited about Pat having won the lottery and sharing the joy with her best friend who is sat next to her on the settee does something rather compulsive. In the spur-of-the-moment Lins posted about the win on Facebook, however, little does Pat know that the world will quickly find out. Suddenly, Pat's phone starts to get calls from people that she has not heard from in a while. Messages on Facebook, a number of texts, and an outpouring of phone calls. It's not just through her phone either. People start turning up at her door. And not all of them have good intentions...


Written & Directed by Lee Clotworthy, with the cast consisting of 'Pat' played by Samantha Richardson, 'Lins' played by Geraldine Moloney Judge, 'Ste' played by Mike Newstead, 'Ciaran' played by Francis J Brack, 'Kay' played by Eve Bowles, and 'Claire' played by Roxanne Male.


The play offered a whole host of moments that will make you gasp in disbelief, with one particular event around the halfway mark that I at least, was definitely not expecting. It really was a deliciously dark and hilarious piece of theatre, in equal parts.

The cosy set for 'Out The Woodwork' in Hope Street Theatre (Credit: The Liverpudlian/This image is an original piece of work by The Liverpudlian Team).
The cosy set for 'Out The Woodwork' in Hope Street Theatre (Credit: The Liverpudlian/This image is an original piece of work by The Liverpudlian Team).

I am always one that is partial for a cosy set, and this was a lovely sight to behold. I particularly like a well designed stage as the scene naturally complements the story. It is something that the characters do not just live in, as you too will be almost inhabiting that world for the length of the show with them. A great set is always a good chance to create immersion and produce an opportunity for the suspension of disbelief.


'Out The Woodwork' has a great cast of experienced actors, combined with a strong story with rapid plot points that propel the play's narrative forward, culminating in a rewarding conclusion. A sharp, original theatrical piece, 5 Stars.

With Lee Clotworthy having brought to life a well put together piece of theatre, I can't help but look forward to more work from him. His knack to craft a collection of humorous yet real characters will be sure to keep audiences coming back to see his work.


Where Did The Shows Take Place?

Thursday the 16th to Saturday the 18th of November 2023, at:

Hope Street Theatre,

22 Hope Street,

The Georgian Quarter,

Liverpool City Centre,

City of Liverpool, L1 9BY,

Liverpool City Region, UK.

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