It’s another return for an Liverpool Everyman alumnus this week – the turn of Mona Lisa and Band of Gold star Cathy Tyson, who will feature in Monkey Bars, a comedic verbatim show where children’s conversations are re-enacted by adults – playing adults – in adult situations.
It opens tomorrow (October 1) and runs until Saturday (October 5), and boasts such an established cast it’s hard to believe it’s on in the tiny Liverpool Playhouse Studio.
A hit with critics and audiences when it premiered in Edinburgh in 2012 – earning a Fringe First Award – Monkey Bars offers a insight into what children are trying to tell us about their lives, and ours, that we don’t always hear.
The script for the play began when more than 40 eight to ten-year-old children talked about their lives; about being scared and being brave; about their family, faith, and favourite sweets; and their perspective on the adult world that surrounds and awaits them. Writer and director Chris Goode worked from the transcripts of these exchanges, reframing the dialogues by transplanting them into the world of grown-ups.
Liverpool actress Cathy Tyson began her career in the Everyman Youth Theatre and was last seen at the Everyman in 2007’s The May Queen. Alongside her are Gwyneth Strong, best known for her role as Cassandra in Only Fools and Horses, and Gordon Warnecke, who played the lead opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in the ground-breaking 1985 film My Beautiful Laundrette.
Writer, performer and director Chris Goode’s prolific body of work includes The Fringe First award-winning shows Neutrino (Unlimited Theatre, Soho Theatre), and Kiss of Life (Pleasance Theatre, Drill Hall, London), which travelled to Sydney Opera House in 2007, along with …Sisters (Headlong, The Gate). He also recently wrote and directed for the Bush Theatre’s epic performance cycle Sixty Six Books.
Goode said: “Monkey Bars has been a complete delight to work on: constantly hilarious but also, in what the children are saying, full of moments of poignancy and profundity.”
Completing the ensemble cast are Angela Clerkin (The Office, BBC; Season’s Greetings, Liverpool Playhouse), Philip Bosworth (The Flint Street Nativity, ITV; Horrid Henry-Live, Roundhouse London), and Christian Roe (Wallander, BBC; The Power of Yes, National Theatre).
Here’s the trailer for a little taste of the show: