Billy Liar

May 2010


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Billy Liar - by Keith Waterhouse & Willis Hall
Performed -  Wed 12th to Sat 15th May 2010 at Blackfriars Theatre

Synopsis
Less than dedicated to his job as undertaker's clerk, bored with his North Country family background, Billy Fisher takes refuge in his own invented world. For Billy, an energetic imagination makes life tolerable but well-nigh intolerable for all around him. He lies his way into and out of every situation, producing any explanation and making any promise that will extricate him from his present predicament, and thereby creating ever more tortuous entanglements for the immediate future.

Review
This stage version of the novel by the late Keith Waterhouse, who died in September 2009, was co-written with Willis Hall. It tells the story of a young man Billy, who, despite having had a grammar school education, finds himself still living at home with his parents and maternal grandmother whilst working at a mundane job as a clerk with a firm of undertakers (Waterhouse had actually been so employed). In order to enliven his existence Billy uses his vivid imagination and capacity to fabricate stories about his life and the people around him to such an extent that he becomes known as ‘Billy Liar’. 

Daniel Chester-Bush (William “Billy” Fisher) gave a convincing performance as someone who continuously has to amend his stories by adding additional lies to those he has already told whenever he is found out. David Edgar (Geoffrey Fisher – Billy’s father) a plain speaking man, frequently airs his strong views on Billy’s behaviour using his favourite ‘B’ word, whilst Glyn Ruskin, (Billy’s mum - Alice Fisher) is required to intervene as ‘peacekeeper’ as well as tending to the needs of her elderly mother (Florence Boothroyd), played by Helen Gordon, whose geriatric behaviour was most convincing. Daniel Poulson (Arthur Crabtree – a work colleague) tried hard to persuade Billy to mend his ways without success.
Sheila Millington was well into character as Barbara, the mild mannered orange-loving number one fiancée being strung along by Billy, while in contrast, Melissa Marlowe as Rita, who had also been promised an engagement ring by Billy, was a feisty girl most definitely not going to be messed around. Charlotte Argyle, making her first appearance with the company as Liz, a former girlfriend of Billy, gave a very creditable performance as the one who offered Billy the best chance of moving on to bigger and better things-albeit he failed to seize the opportunity. This highly entertaining performance took place on a cleverly designed set that was lit to good effect throughout.
Peter Breach NODA

Cast
Actors names on right:

William "Billy" Fisher - Danny Chester-Bush
Alice Fisher - Glyn Ruskin
Geoffrey Fisher - David Edgar
Florence Boothroyd - Helen Gordon
Arthur Crabtree - Dan Poulson
Barbara - Sheila Millington
Rita - Melissa Marlowe
Liz - Charlotte Argyll

Production Team

Director - Mike Sheridan-Shinn
Co-Director - Marilyn Bradley-Cobb
Stage Manager - Bob Green
Set Design - Paul Gibson
Set Construction - Paul Gibson & members of society
Stage Crew - Alma Watts / Wayne Waite
Costume - Liz Worsley & Alma Watts
Furniture & Properties - Liz Worsley & Alma Watts
Lighting & Sound - Paul Gibson
Poster & Programme - Melissa Marlowe