Immaculate, Theatre Review. Sennheiser Studio, L.I.PA., Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

Cast: Ruth Parratt, Jack Sanders, Molly Deegan, Gavin Duffy, Rebecca Ozer, Pete Smith.

Finding out you are pregnant when it is the last thing on your mind, the final piece of the puzzle to life’s ever random circumstance which you had no plans for, is one of those moments in which the world can come crashing down or can lift you higher than you have ever been, Heaven and Hell are moved and made to seem as if the process was flawless, that children are born into this world pure, Immaculate.

The story of the ultimate immaculate conception is one that drives a whole religion, an ethos that has caused wars, been a beacon of optimism and faith and one that captured the hearts and minds of a cross section of humanity, Immaculate story-telling, the comfort of the first coming and one that does not dare itself to be beaten; except as story’s go, it can miss out on a huge portion of the process of how a woman can find out she is carrying the possible saviour of humanity or if in fact there has been a nefarious use of time, the Devil having the final laugh.

Oliver Lansley’s wonderfully subversive play Immaculate is one that you dare to hope to see being performed not just on a big stage, but is one that is ripe for a television adaption, however it is also one that gives the younger creative a shot at immersing themselves into the devilish side of the farce, it allows the pursuit of timing to be explored and experiment with the sensational. It is a production that, if cared for, can bring out the very best in a young actor’s first tentative steps into a hopeful career.

For Spinal Theatre Productions, the Sennheiser Studio is the right place to show such a sublimely teasing play, as with any play of its type, the farce, the slightly subversive, the Devil is in the detail. Yet it also asks very fundamental questions on the nature of souls and if portrayed just solely for the comic laugh then the production can unravel.

The closeness of the audience to the stage brings out added pressures during comedy, the eye contact, the gestures offered are ones that are fiercely overcome by the six strong cast, who absolutely steal the show in their own impressive ways; a cast that has gelled from the off and carry the soul of Mr. Lansley’s keen observation superbly.

A tremendously enjoyable play by the students of L.I.P.A., subversive farce at its most beautifully envisaged and framed.

Ian D. Hall