Young cast work hard to revive an old classic

Richie Withers as Billy and Ayse Akgol as Barbara in the Fylde Coast Players' production of Billy Liar
Richie Withers as Billy and Ayse Akgol as Barbara in the Fylde Coast Players' production of Billy Liar
  • Billy Liar
  • Lowther Pavilion
  • Lytham

Rosie Withers’ smart production for the Fylde Coast Players provides an amused audience with an entertaining and nostalgic evening.

Richie Withers, in the title role, his first adult lead with the Players, is comical in weaving his fantasies and sustains his performance commendably.

Richie’s phenomenal physical acting is one of his strengths. The play itself, however, is showing signs of age, with the vocabulary, references and attitudes of 1960 too often grating rather than adding to the characterisation.

Vera Cummins, Heather Cartmell and Andy Cooke produce accomplished performances as gran, mum and dad – all very Yorkshire in their different ways, well-supported by Kieran O’Doherty as Billy’s mate Arthur.

Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall are less good in writing the roles for the three girls in Billy’s life.

It strains credibility to expect us to believe that they are all gullible enough to fall for this unwashed young man who is, even at first hearing at times, a transparent liar.

The finale – spoiler alert here – tries to suggest that there is no escape from gritty northern ordinariness, but we are left wondering whether Billy is using his fantasies to escape from himself rather than his situation.

Julian Wilde