Liverpool Empire: White Christmas
Posted On: 18/11/2016
By: Michael Ashton
Forgive me father, for I have sinned. For 23 years I have proclaimed my hatred for musicals loud and proud. Too many cheesy smiles, jarg American accents and eccentric youths pirouetting back and forth, sending me west after a couple of glasses of vino. The only exception to this hatred has been Hairspray which I thoroughly enjoyed at the Empire last year. Mostly due the extremely tight pants on the male cast that encouraged me to buy binoculars for a wholesome game of Spot the Eggplant.
However, in a shock festive twist I decided to go along and see Irving Berlin’s ‘White Christmas’ at The Empire last night. It’s mid-November, it’s freaking cold, pitch black post 5pm, Donald Trump is President and my seasonal depression has well and truly set it. Desperate times call for desperate measures. If there’s one thing that supposed to lift a full-time crank from their shitty mood it’s Christmas Cheer. I knocked back a couple of 2-4-1 cocktails at Sound Bar and was on my way.
My spirits were lifting immediately before I’d even left the foyer, having spent the majority of the day trying to work my first installment of Botox into my December budget, I suddenly felt more Young & Beautiful than ever before. I was the youngest person in the audience by at least 40 years. White Christmas clearly has a White Haired target audience. But do you know what, I still had fun. And not just thanks to some festive bevs.
Based on the 1954 Parmount Pictures film, it’s a post Second World War tale of two former American Soldiers, Captain Bob Wallace and Private Phil Davis who ten years after the war are enjoying a successful career in the entertainment industry. They start dating two sassy sisters Betty and Judy Haynes and travel to Vermont where the sisters are supposed to performing at an Inn. Here they discover that thanks to an unexpected December heatwave preventing the expected seasonal snow, the show no longer has an audience.
Bob and Phil are pleasantly surprised to find the owner of the Inn is none other than their former General Henry Waverly. The General had put his life savings into the Inn and is now facing financial difficulty. To save him the hassle of calling his bank and spending the majority of the festive season on hold to their Money Management team they decide to step it and bring their new show to the Inn.
BOST Musicals bring the story to life for their 90th Anniversary year. The cheery songs are perfecting for chasing those ‘Bah, Humbugs’ away. ‘Let me sing and I’m happy’ is performed by the comic genius Pat Davies who plays Martha Wilson and Rebecca Nielson made my icy exterior temporarily crack when I literally Laughed Out Loud during the chorus performance of Snow. The glittery costumes are vibrant staging really makes you forget about the bleakness and frostbite that awaits outside, even if just for 2 hours and 5 minutes. The incredibly talented, eight-year old Sofia Lawton stole the show as Susan Waverly – I hope Santa can leave a Tony Award under her tree this year. And if he doesn’t he is a top snid.
So if you’re struggling to think of a present for your Nan and Grandad, fret no more. They will absolutely love it. Maybe don’t go along with them though because old people get pissed when you spend 20 minutes on your phone after you realise that the stage is a Pokéstop and put a lure on.
White Christmas runs until Sunday 20th November at The Liverpool Empire and you can buy tickets here.