Dave Kirby’s 2006 play Lost Soul was an unashamed celebration of the middle-aged. Over the course of a decade its Motown-loving 50-something characters have become favourites with Liverpool audiences. So it’s not a surprise that he’s decided to revisit his quartet of characters in this new sequel.
When daughter Amy (Gemma Brodrick) returns from Ibiza with a baby bump and sullen scally boyfriend (an underused Bobby Schofield), mum Donna (Lindzi Germain) can’t wait to be a granny, but for dad Smigger it’s more complicated.
A new generation brings with it dark thoughts about ageing and mortality that the 1970s dance floor king would rather not contemplate, creating the conditions for a comedic – but also rather poignant – midlife meltdown.
Kirby benefits from having Andrew Schofield return as his leading man – no one does hurt bemusement quite like Schofield. In fact, all four central cast members return to characters they last played in 2017, generating a comfortable familiarity around the play’s two middle-aged couples.
Lenny Wood reprises his turn as a gormless club barman, a part he’s played since the original Lost Soul premiered at the Unity Theatre. Wood, a master craftsman of comic looks, is rewarded for his loyalty with an expanded role – and his own slice of love action.
The production plays out on designer Jocelyn Meall’s smoothly revolving tri-part set, with director Bob Eaton keeping the narrative – and laugh rate – brisk, although the plot stalls somewhat in the second half.