On Thursday evening I was invited to the Floral Pavillion Theatre in New Brighton to watch Twopence To Cross The Mersey. This was my first time visiting this theater, which is now our local one since we relocated to the Wirral in January, but it certainly wont be my last. It is a lovely theatre, modern, welcoming and all seats have plenty of leg room too. I can’t wait to return with my family soon.
Twopence To Cross The Mersey
Twopence To Cross the Mersey is an adaptation of Helen Forrester’s book based on her own life experiences. It is a periods drama set in the early 1930’s during the great depression. It follows the story of Helen, aged 12, and her family as they go from a life of great wealth to one of great poverty, catching the train to Liverpool with only the clothes on their back and a handful of change in search of a better life. Unfortunately, Liverpool is not the wealthy port Helen’s dad remembers and the family struggle to survive.
From here the story focuses on the new role Helen finds herself in, as the main care giver for her younger siblings, instead of joining them at school where she longs to be. It is a tale of sorrow, heartache but also hope.
Review Twopence across the Mersey
As the show was about to start the news of the Queens passing was announced sending a ripple of sadness through the theatre. The decision that the show must go on was made and with only minutes to process the news the cast took to the stage like true professionals.
Twopence across the Mersey had everything you could want from a great show. It was emotive and engaging and despite it being a tale of woe it was written in such a way that there were also glimmers of humour throughout, as well as the inclusion of uplifting kindness and generosity towards Helen and her family that ensured the audience weren’t left feeling too deflated once it finished.
Helen was played by Jenny Murphy who did the most wonderful job of portraying her character from different view points. The naivety and vulnerability of a 12 year old living through a massive life change shone through but so too did the raw emotion, incredible strength and desire for something better that Helen must have experienced during this time. Jenny mastered them all and made it very easy to believe that she was in fact a young Helen.
On stage alongside Jenny playing Helen’s desperate father was the very talented Mark Morgaghan who you may recognise from Brookside. He worked brilliantly with his on stage wife played by Lynn Francis, once a power couple but whose relationship became more and more volatile the worse their situation got.
Overall the show was incredible. There were times when I teared up, times when I laughed out loud and many times when the fact that this was based on a true story hit me hard and I wished I could step in and change the path the Helen was on but most of all it left me wanting more. When the curtain fell Helen was still only 14 and two days later I still have a longing to know how her story ends and have now ordered the books to feed my curiosity.
If you are looking for your next theatre trip then I highly recommend you grab some tickets for Twopence To Cross the Mersey as it tours the UK. It will remain at The Floral Pavillion in New Brighton until the 11th September when it will then move to Rhyl.