REVIEW: Dead Heavy Fantastic, Liverpool Everyman
A TYPICAL Friday night out in Liverpool - you leave the house feeling a million dollars and return your own poor relation. And that's how it is for the motley crew in Dead Heavy Fantastic as they lurch their way from tentative first drinks to apocalyptic sunrise sure in the knowledge that they're pretty likely to do it all again next week.
Blood Brothers favourite Con O'Neill returns to the Liverpool stage for the first time in more than 20 years as Vince, the compelling borderline sociopath who's great for a pint but you wouldn't want him living next door.
Discovering his ex-girlfriend Cindy (Samantha Robinson) in bed with her blind date Frank (Royal Court regular Alan Stocks), he sweeps the middle-aged postman along on a night of excess he is never likely to forget.
The chemistry between the two contrasting men crackles - at times they are almost a comedy double act - as they stagger from karaoke bar to burnt-out nightclub to A&E to penthouse apartment to a Speke wasteland on a Spartan set pimped up with projected footage filmed on location around the city's bars and clubs.
O'Neill's Vince teeters between boisterous clown and fist-swinging thug, seemingly just as unsure as the audience of which way he'll turn, while Stocks plays Frank with just the right amount of naivety and bewildered excitement.
A solid supporting cast switches accents and costumes to match their ever shifting personalities as they divide up the characters encountered on the odd couple's wild night out - among them a pink feather boa-ed hen party, a zealous street preacher and a barely caricatured pair of Scouse party girls.
Matt Wilde's directing brings out the natural comedy in Robert Farquhar's witty script - one of the last pieces of new writing to be performed at the Everyman's current incarnation before its demolition and subsequent re-build begins later this year.
A thoroughly entertaining piece of theatre populated by memorable characters, Dead Heavy Fantastic encapsulates the energy and eager anticipation of a Friday night out without the disappointment of the morning after.