Writer: Nicky Allt
Director: Paul Goetzee
It was never going to be an easy feat following on from (arguably) The Royal Court’s best Christmas, Show Scouse Cinderella. Opening the new season is a comedy by Nicky Allt of life-long friendships, rekindled romances and the place that haunted thousands of young Liverpool students, Colomendy.
Ex-forces Big H (John Evans), Ex-Librarian Stan (Liam Tobin) and current dosser Brian (Paul Duckworth) are trying their best to help depressed pal Barry (Alan Stocks) through a tough divorce, but when their jobs in the gardening dept at Speke B&Q are on the line, and a new manager (Jane Hogarth) has been sent in to “save” the store, things don’t (as one might expect) quite go plan, especially when the team are sent on a team-bonding trip to Colomendy.
Writer Nicky Allt once again manages to find a brilliant balance within his script. One that not only allows us to laugh at the main protagonists of this outrageous outward bound based comedy but also feel incredible compassion for their outlandish behaviour and quirky character traits.
Played out on Alfie Haywood’s revolving set, which encompasses the Garden Department of B&Q, the decrepit dorm room of Colomendy, and the heady heights of Moel Famau, the show moves along at quite a pace especially during the second act when the characters really start to show who they are.
Royal Court newcomer John Evans is not unfamiliar with his home town audience and they, like himself embrace the situation brilliantly, his tougher than he looks ex-military Big H is a breath of fresh air amongst the other cast members. Liam Tobin is fast becoming a chameleon of the Liverpool stage, from the Demon Barber of Fleet Street over at the Everyman to a backpacking, fact-wielding librarian who you can’t help feel sorry for. Alan Stocks makes a welcome return to the Court’s stage as the depressed Barry. Following a lengthy tour with Calendar Girls the MUSICAL, Stocks returns with just as much fun and flourish as we have become so used to over the years. Completing the heady-line up of childhood friends come workmates, Paul Duckworth is stunning as the “love-to-hate” Brain, full of self-righteous arrogance his “awakening” to the world on top of a mountain is nothing short of comedy brilliance. Jane Hogarth brings excellent support as the put upon, new manager of B&Q but one can’t help feeling that she is more of a plot device used to anchor one particular storyline, her character seems rather under-written in comparison to the rest of the cast.
Overall, Lost in Colomendy is a hoot and a brilliant start to the year for The Royal Court, which in 2020 continues to showcase new productions alongside revivals of past favourites ensuring there really is something for everyone at this friendly venue.