The Punter, Theatre Review. Unity Theatre, Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

Cast: Graham Geoffrey Hicks, Denise Kennedy.

It is one of the greatest of institutions and something that arguably the rest of the world wished it had, it has suffered terribly by lack of faith, investment and the vultures of capitalism who decry its very existence as socialist and meaningless unless it makes someone a pile of money, it’s aim is to teach, to aid the afflicted and ease the pressure on modern life; theatre is like the N.H.S. that other great British invention, it works so well because those who use it, care.

It is The Punter that comes through the door that even may cure the Doctor, the out of sorts, finically crippled and slowly decayed by more and more burdens, constraints and ailments than can be solved in a five minute consultation. In Deborah Morgan’s play, the madness of the way we treat our G.P.s and the expectations of the sick and worried is highlighted beautifully.

Directed by Big Wow’s Tim Lynskey, this dark and significant production sees Mr. Graham Geoffrey Hicks and Denise Kennedy pair up as they both battle the world in their own way and the realisation that sometimes we don’t ask the right questions of either party to find out what exactly is going on in the mind.

Walk down the street and see what truly troubles people, what ails them most, it could be argued that for the most part if pushed, if allowed to open up, they would say that the world does not listen to them, that if they try to explain what makes them sad or given the urge to crawl into a different position is that the ridicule they face for dare opening their mouths is enough to make them bitter, cross and volatile.

By placing emphasis on time, how little we give each other, how insignificant you are made to feel in the Doctor’s office as you are given just enough time to list a symptom or two; Deborah Morgan pushes the feeling to the forefront of the conversation and it one makes this play give you two of the best medicine’s, laughter and the knowledge that someone is listening.

With great performances by two of Liverpool’s unsung, but always entertaining heroes of the stage, Mr. Hicks and Ms. Kennedy rampage and lose the plot of existence perfectly; the connection is entertaining and marvellous.

We are more than just a customer, lose the N.H.S and we no longer may as call ourselves human beings, that something special will go and then we do just become The Punter, an egg timer interview to sort out and labelled in three minutes. A cracking production!


Ian D. Hall