The Royal Court in Liverpool is fast emerging as possibly the place to go if you want your ribs cracking from laughing and with this new Fred Lawless play, Merry Ding Dong keeps the tradition going. From first to last, this is a festive funfest filled with typical Scouse humour that is relentless in its ability to get the chuckles rising.
Stephen Fletcher and Rachel Rae cement their blossoming reputations for fine acting by playing the children of the feuding fathers brilliantly. Stephen Aintree and Jake Abraham are both fabulous as Chris and Noel, who have fallen out over an incident in Talacre that nobody dares mention, but when revealed is a genuine highlight.
Eithne Browne as the seductive Holly and Lindzi Germain as the more boisterous Ivy in trying to keep the piece over Christmas, deliver two stand out performances that are only trumped by that of Alan Stocks who, in all of his four roles but notably that of the priest, is quite simply hilarious. In particular, the scene during the second half that takes place in church is worth the admission price on its own.
The staging is terrific, especially the lights that festoon both houses, and Bob Eaton’s faultless direction keeps the whole thing moving at a pace that marks A Merry Ding Dong down as possibly the Christmas show to see on Merseyside.