Yellow Breck Road review at Royal Court Liverpool – ‘a joyous farce’
Life’s not always easy on Breck Road. Money is tight, Gran is incontinent and sometimes you wish you could click your ruby Dr Martens and magic yourself to Oz – or in Dot’s (Gemma Brodrick) case, Ibiza.
This cheesy but endearing farce is Gerry Linford’s second play, following his debut last summer with The Miracle of Great Homer Street.
Yellow Breck Road takes inspiration from The Wizard of Oz. Both have plots that make very little sense. A series of events results in agoraphobic Dot watching her parent’s lives play out in coma fever-dream flashbacks on the moon. Olivia du Monceau’s ambitious design takes the Royal Court stage intergalactic. Her lunar setting adding a layer of high-quality polish to this very silly show.
The cast are engaging and for the most part experts in comic timing. Lynn Francis is a side-splitting joy, playing mum Carol across ages. Jake Abraham is curiously enigmatic as Barry, Dot’s inept uncle turned astronaut-spirit guide. A man who knows the secret to happiness but whose DIY attempts can render a toaster lethal.
Linford’s comedy is fun – filled with quick fire puns, plenty of local nods and abundance of poo jokes – but a bit insubstantial. Any true emotion or struggle, from Dot’s anxiety disorder to the family’s impending eviction, are ducked in favour of landing the next joke. There is a sense that Linford is hesitant to go deeper, and whilst the laughs are bountiful, a braver touch would have brought more meaning to the ‘no place like home’ take home message.