Arts & Culture

Drunks at Heswall Hall

By Mark Gorton at

If you want to see a play about people who crave power, and what they’ll do to get it, then why not be entertained and provoked by The Drunks at Heswall Hall?

Drunks at Heswall Hall? Perish the thought, for the Hall is a much loved oasis of temperance and sobriety.

The Drunks I’m referring to are the characters populating a play presented by the excellent and ambitious Off the Ground Youth Theatre company – you can see it soon on either March 9, 10, or 11.

The Drunks tells a modern tale of corruption, lies and stupidity.

The setting is a small Russian town trapped in a seemingly endless cycle of boozed up, frequently inept and ridiculous politicians who have fought and cheated their way to the top. They push propaganda, they intimidate their people, they threaten the media – all to maintain their ill-gotten positions of power.

When Ilya, a shell-shocked soldier who can no longer drink, returns from the front lines in Chechnya, he is hailed as a hero. Caught in the eye of a political hurricane, he is pulled from side to side as the leaders of his hometown manipulate him to further their own agendas.

First performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company, this hilarious and popular play is more relevant in our current political climate than ever before. It cuts to the core of small-town bureaucracy while opening up larger national and international worries about those who rule us.

Artistic Director Dan Meigh said, “When we sat down to discuss our youth theatre season at the start of the summer, there was no doubt in our minds that this was the right play to do. It speaks so directly to the current mood across the Western world that you’d think it was written yesterday.”

Cast member Dan Vilela focused on the darkly comic side to the text, saying. ‘It’s an amazing play, so ridiculous and hilarious all the way through, but hugely scary at the same time. You recognise so much of what happens in our current leaders and politicians.”

Off the Ground has been producing high-quality theatre since its conception in 1995. Based in Wirral, they have performed massively varied productions, from Shakespeare to Sarah Kane. With a dedicated team of professional practitioners, students are trained in the full range of performance skills.

The current youth theatre season has already seen a very successful double-bill production of Denis Kelly’s DNA, and Simon Armitage’s Eclipse. The Drunks itself will be preluded by a platform performance from the youth theatre’s youngest group, who will be showcasing an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes.

And you can’t say fairer than that.

Tickets cost £8.00 with concessions at £5.00 and can be purchased from Off the Ground right here.

DrunksPoster