If The Shoe Fits, Theatre Review. Floral Pavilion, New Brighton.
Cast: Charlie Griffiths, Jodie Nesbitt, Angela Simms, Donna Lesley Price, Richie Grice, Al T. Kossy, Lesley Hughes, Trevor Fleming, James William-Watts, Michael Swift.
When a play is as terrific, expansive and well observed as If The Shoe Fits, then no matter what theatre it is put on at, it is sure to draw the crowds in their numbers and be enjoyed for what it is, a play that really draws on the underbelly of city life, its laughter, its dreams and also its seedier side which is just as much a part of humanity as the bright lights and shopping malls.
Where this production raised its game and excelled beyond measure was to find a home at the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton. With room on stage to give every actor the right amount of space to shine; to be more than the sum of their characters flaws and needs and ultimately make the portrayal of the individual something to be proud of watching, then a success is what it should be hailed. It is rare though to find a play that can easily transfer lock, stock and if you will shoe box from a small but much loved stage to one where national tours have taken place. In that the whole cast and backstage crew deserves praise for having the get up and go to make it possible.
The next time you wander into a retail shop, look at the people in their, get to know their basic humanity and revel in their stories. For as If The Shoe Fits proves, it’s the unsung heroes of our world, those that put up with foot fetish fans, men of the cloth who have a little bit more on the cassock than first is realised, the odd balls and the serious shopper that keep the nation going.
In this, the portrayal of the girls in the shop were first class, for them high class shoes didn’t mean they had to take everything that was being thrown at them by the customers. For Charlie Griffiths, making her debut in the play; she was superb, a genuine and likeable portrayal of Liz and her scenes with shop owner Jamie, played with much exuberance and laughter by Richie Grice, were first class. The very classy Jodie Nesbitt reprised her role from previous productions and each time she steps into the hard shell exterior of Chas, it seems that her stature as an actor grows and grows.
It is Donna Lesley Price that deserves the biggest applause for her role as the off kilter Daphne, her character may be wide eyed and innocent of many things but it takes a real skill to get that across to an audience. Many actors can pull of the despicable, the nasty and cold hearted but to portray the kinder side of life is one that can allude many.
If the Shoe Fits…of course it does and long may this very funny, very heart warming and devastatingly brilliant look at Liverpool life continue.
Ian D. Hall