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18th December 2003
Breezeblock Park @ Playhouse
Breezeblock Park
Breezeblock Park.

Review: Breezeblock Park by Willy Russell.

Venue: The Playhouse.

Reviewed by: Andrea Rannard.

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Breezeblock Park examines the existence of a working-class Liverpool family, the traditions and prejudices that form the dynamics of the relationship, set within the context of the socio-political climate.

With a stalwart cast embracing the talents of Pauline Daniels (as Betty), Michael Starke (Syd), Neil Caple (Tommy), Andrew Schofield (Ted), Joanna Munro (Reeny) and Sophie Stanton (Vera), Willy Russell's play is brought to life.

In the midst of Yuletide festivities, issues surrounding class-consciousness, snobbery, materialism, sibling rivalry, matriarchy and "civilised" middle-class culture are explored.

Precursor to Educating Rita, Breezeblock Park portrays the constraints imposed on individuals by class identity and tradition, the suppression of ambition and the younger generation's desire to challenge orthodoxy.

Revealing slight modifications to the original script, the production encapsulates Russell's attentiveness to his own surroundings. Exploring cultural and philosophical questions in an intense yet comical manner, Breezeblock Park had the Playhouse audience in fits of raucous laughter.

Accompanied by pertinent costumes and set, the performance of the 1975 production achieved an excellent recreation of the era. However, with the entirety of the play taking place essentially in the living rooms of two council houses, the strength of the performance centres around the awesome interplay between characters.

Executing brilliant Scouse accents and amusing facial expressions and gestures, the comedy captures the sadness of family life.

Breezeblock Park is at the Liverpool Playhouse between 11th December 2003 and 10th January 2004 at 7.30pm. Tickets priced £16, with concessions £6, are available from the Box Office on 0151 709 4776.

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