Maggie May at Finborough Theatre
Liverpool Docks. 1960s. Streetwalker Maggie May (Kara Lily Hayworth) is a daydream believer. Enamoured by her childhood sweetheart, Patrick Casey (James Darch), a young sailor and son of a famous unionist leader killed previously in a dockers’ strike, Maggie does all that she can to keep Patrick’s flame alive during his absence, going so far as to trace her desires onto respective clients in order to sustain her erotic fantasies. But when she learns that Patrick too must partake in a strike that could endanger his life, rifts appear in the pair’s relationship, setting the scene for the doomed and climatic denouement.
An SDWC Productions piece, Matthew Iliffe’s revival of Alun Owen’s Maggie May, an undeniable tribute to labourers and Liverpudlian working-class life in the latter half of the 20th century, is every bit the definition of what an ensemble cast is all about. With a myriad of dance numbers, each meticulously choreographed by Sam Spencer-Lane to fit the intimate confines of the Finborough Theatre, space is of the essence and the actors make use of this limitation with immense tact and precision. At a given point, the performers must swap various items of clothing around, including jackets, hats and boots, much like a juggling act, on cue to Lionel Bart’s complex musical score, delivered magnificently by Henry Brennan on the piano, leaving no room for mistakes or slip-ups, and they deliver. As for the set, a backdrop of what resembles Pier Head coupled with a dock ladder placed in front of it, which the cast occasionally uses as a prop, authenticates the location and makes it more atmospheric.
Hayworth and Darch are fantastic as the star-crossed lovers whose paths take a turn for the worse in this fated historical drama. Their evident care for and trust in one another filter into an extremely credible performance. It is hugely impressive that the show was put together in just over four weeks. Maggie May ebbs and flows like a river current, in perfect harmony.
Photo: Ali Wright
Maggie May is at Finborough Theatre from 27th March until 20th April 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.