The Playhouse began life as the Star Music Hall in 1866 and became a theatre in 1911 and on December 28th the Playhouse will celebrate its 150th birthday. It seems most fitting then that the Christmas show this year should be Music Hall and one that celebrates one of the most iconic buildings in Liverpool.
The Star not only captures the old style theatre but it also showcases the many talents of the seven strong cast, which also includes a live band tucked away under the apron of the stage. It is easy to be absorbed into this show as you look around the stunning auditorium and then onto the stage where designer Matthew Wright fills the enormous space with garish backdrops and the dazzling red curtains that absolutely sets the whole atmosphere as Music Hall.
Michael Starke as The Chairman plays his role well as compere and as usual produces a wonderful performance. Michelle Butterly as Ida has the lion's share of songs which she delivers with ease and alongside the charming Eithne Browne as Ellen these two have enough gusto to charm the audience to sing-a-long at any opportunity. Comedy comes in many guises and Danny O'Brien as Arthur is brilliant as he tries to find the perfect act, and equally as dazzling is the excellent Kevin Harvey who gets as many boos from the audience as any pantomime bad guy.
No story is complete without a little romance and Helen Carter as Dora and Jack Rigby as Jack provide just that. With Rigby's shy off hand manner and Carter's comedy timing as well as a stunning singing voice, these two have some of the more complicated routines but deliver with ease.
The Star is a fantastic revival of an old time classic and this show is bursting with fun and entertainment. This is a feel good show with over twenty songs in which you are actively encouraged to join in and a good time is guaranteed. A rather fitting way to celebrate a theatre that has seen many changes over its 150 years but one that has stood the test of time.