It might come as a surprise to discover the production currently on stage at the Royal Court comes from the Birkenhead Operatic Society Trust (BOST).
Oliver! And Oklahoma! it ain’t.
But more power to BOST’s elbow, because the entire cast has committed itself one hundred percent to this departure from the norm, and the result is a production rich in both pathos and comedy.
Under director Elsie Kelly it is packed with entertaining performances, and there’s a palpable sense of camaraderie between the six men who form “Hot Metal” with heartfelt and hilarious consequences.
Chris Simmons’ emasculated misogynist Jerry is the forceful leader of the pack, and the actor is a strong physical and vocal presence on the stage. But there are lovely turns from each of the men, including David Robarts as chubby house-husband Dave and John Tetlow as the sensitive, depressive mummy’s boy Malcolm who finds affection from an unlikely quarter.
Still, while this is a man’s world, the women aren’t merely bystanders, with Linzi Stefanov giving a particularly feisty performance as Dave’s wife.