A new stage production of one of Scouse nostlgia-lit’s greatest exports, Helen Forrester’s hit Twopence To Cross The Mersey, is embarking on a six-week tour of four Merseyside theatres.
The tour will visit Liverpool, Southport, St Helens and New Brighton over March and April.
Twopence to Cross the Mersey – a favourite of Caitlin Moran’s, no less – tells the true story of a young girl and her formerly wealthy family as they are suddenly thrown into poverty during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Leaving behind nannies, servants and a comfortable middle-class life in the South West of England, they uproot their shattered lives and choose Liverpool as the place to start again to rebuild their dreams and fortune. Unbeknown to them however, a terrible shock awaits them…
The new musical production features eight cast members, including a number of faces familiar to Liverpool theatregoers – Eithne Browne, Jake Abrahams and Emma Dears.
The tour opens with a three-week run at the Epstein (March 10 to 28), followed by visits to Southport Theatre (April 9 to 11) and St Helens Theatre Royal (April 14 to 16). The tour ends with a trip across the Mersey to the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton (April 19 to 23).
Eithne Browne (Brookside, Brick Up The Mersey Tunnel), Jake Abraham (Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Game of Thrones), Roy Carruthers (Night Collar, Tales from Haunted Liverpool) and Brian Dodd (Tony Teardrop, Treasured) all take on lead roles, as well as supplementary characters throughout.
In its earlier format, the musical version of the show had four hugely successful runs at the Empire, firstly in 1994 and then returning in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2009.
The new version is being staged by Pulse Theatre in collaboration with producer and stage writer Rob Fennah and new co-producer Bill Elms, joined by director Bob Eaton. The show will celebrate 21 years on stage during its Merseyside tour – which also originally starred Eithne Browne.
During a career spanning more than 40 years, Bob Eaton has directed more than 80 professional productions in theatres across The UK, New York and Hong Kong. He has also written and co-written more than 20 plays, musicals and musical adaptations – and most recently won praise for the return of Lennon the musical at the Royal Court, where he regularly directs.
Producer and stage writer Rob Fennah said: “This is a new stage play adaptation of Helen’s book and follows our very successful musical version, which Helen came to see nearly 21 years ago. In fact, the performance on April 9th will mark the show’s coming of age. But I must point out, everything about this production is different; new set, new script; new director. Introducing more theatregoers to Helen’s fascinating story is something we are all looking forward to.”
There’s an interesting collaboration with Merseyrail during the tour that will allow ticket holders the opportunity to travel by train to selected performances for just two pence (geddit?) – organisers say it is the first time that people will be able to cross the River Mersey for 2p since 1948. This is entirely believable.
Ticket holders can register at the Merseyrail website – the 2p will be collected at the theatre on arrival and will go to the production charity partner North West Cancer Research.
Merseyrail passengers can also enjoy a £2 discount off their Twopence To Cross The Mersey tickets for any performance at any of the tour’s four venues.
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