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Review: 'A Fistful of Collars' at Royal Court

by Richard Buxton. Published Thu 22 Apr 2010 17:37, last updated: 22/04/10

A fictional dry cleaners on Wavertree High Street under threat of closure is the scene for coppers, chloroform and chaos in Fred Lawless' latest comedy 'A Fistful of Collars'.

Judging by the uncontrollable laughter from a packed audience, the owners of the actual shop in that area should expect a slight increase in business on the back of subliminal advertising from this surreal yet entertaining play.

It has everything anyone could ask for in a real Scouse comedy with two hours of hilarity and mayhem as Coleen Rooney’s designer dresses wrongly end up in the shop’s back room.

Unlike 'Merry Ding Dong', Lawless' festive offering last year, 'A Fistful of Collars' is not a musical although it does contain some entertaining off-the-cuff musical numbers.

The Dingle-born playwright wrote the entire script around the parodied title of the 1964 spaghetti western, given to him by Royal Court director Kevin Fearon.

Eithne Brown, Jake Abraham, Alan Stocks and Lindzi Germain were all mainstays in 'Merry Ding Dong' and once again they did not disappoint.

Nor too did Royal Court regulars Pauline Daniels and Lenny Wood, whose role as the socially challenged yet mathematically astute Billy had the audience in stitches, as did Stocks' antics as a dazed and confused police officer.

The addition to the line-up of Suzanne Collins will no doubt set a few pulses racing as the Brookside veteran appears for most of the show in black lingerie after being bound and gagged by flustered shop employees.

Many workers will relate to the love-hate double act between Billy and Germain's character Leona whilst some employers will sympathise with the pressure that comes with running a business as shown in the mannerisms of on-edge Eileen, played by Brown.

Jokes were timed and delivered to perfection by the perfectly-assembled cast and, although some may have been predictable, they still produced continuous, side-splitting laughter which make this another must-see.

A Fistful of Collars runs at Royal Court Theatre until May 15 2010


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