Edgy, relevant and emotive – this play could not be more relevant if it tried! The Everyman Company continue to go from strength-to-strength as they present the fourth piece in their series of five. Following the success of The Story Giant, these highly-skilled actors bring an exceptional mix of drama, music and dance in The Sum.
Set in Liverpool 2017, Lizzie Nunnery’s play opens with Eve Brennan; a self-professed “numbers person”, counting the pennies but not much is adding up. At home and at work she is the lynchpin of both settings and it’s starting to take its toll. Laura Dos Santos delivers an incredible performance and tugs at each heartstring in the process. As Eve’s circumstances spiral further and further towards what seems to be hopelessness, Eve fights on; determined –in the words of her mother- to sell her knickers before her pride!
She is perfectly accompanied by Liam Tobin as her boyfriend Danny Scott and Emily Hughes as her daughter, Lisa Brenna. Facing unemployment and bullies at school respectively, both try hard not to add to Eve’s worries but as life gets harder, so too does the ability to tread on eggshells. Hughes is brilliant and several times stands out as she her personal griefs unfold.
Eve’s work colleagues are consistently good on stage and several pitch-perfect harmonies and intimate moments remind us that these actors are far more than just extras on stage. Melanie La Barrie is able to make any role appear like a lead and her presence on stage remains powerful and dynamic.
The story takes one of many turns as Eve’s employment stability is rocked. She soon finds herself in the debt of her friend and boss Alan McClasker (Patrick Brennan). Having played Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof and Rudi in The Conquest of the South Pole, this National Theatre and RSC veteran keeps the bar high throughout his appearances with The Company. As Alan’s offer of help reveals a darker set of motives, Eve’s mother, Iris continues to deteriorate. With her memory failing and her temper unstable, Pauline Daniels is as comedic as she is endearing; a true master of her craft.
As the play continues, the topics covered are as varied and pertinent as picking up a copy of today’s Liverpool Echo; foodbanks, cyber-sex and the European referendum are all up for discussion. With protests and musical numbers to plot the course of the story, Eve’s future remains an unsolved equation.
Saturday 6th May – Saturday 1st July.
The Everyman Theatre, 5-11 Hope Street, Liverpool, L1 9BH