Review: The Scousetrap / Royal Court

A night in the Royal Court is hard to beat, with their hilarious Liverpool-based plays capturing the hearts of thousands across the city. The Scousetrap lives up to that expectation and at times makes you erupt into laughter.

The Scousetrap
The Scousetrap at the Royal Court

The play starts with a black and white introduction video which sets the background. It’s 1940 and the German Luftwaffe are carrying out a blitz of the city, home to the biggest port in the country, with its Atlantic advantage. This video included a lot of political satire which I personally loved. However, my favourite part was the line: “The spirit of Scousers will never be broken”.

Straight away, the most noticeable aspect was the incredible set, designed by Mark Walters. The play was based at the Adelphi Hotel in the 1940s (when it was famous for the right reasons).

David Benson, who plays both Lord Street and the Bishop of Birkenhead, played both roles perfectly, adding his own quirks onto each of the characters. Lord Street is boosting the war effort by finding German spies and while doing so is helped by the city’s greatest private detective, Miss Inga Marble (Eithne Browne) and visiting French policeman Inspector Gajé (Gabriel Fleary).

‘The murder of the Admiral is very sudden’

The cast also includes socialite Lady Barking Dobson, played by Helen Carter, Liam Tobin as an American toy salesman W.C. Groper and Zain Salim as the hotel manager Hans Free and Jack Lane plays Norman.

I will say that the murder of the Admiral is very sudden, however I think this is where the play does start to slow down, maybe even too much. Some jokes were overplayed and lingered too much. For example, there was a ‘later with ron’ (meaning ‘later on’) joke that went back and forth for about three to four minutes, at which point the audience was ready to move on.

The Royal Court performances always include improvisation, which is how the prolonging of jokes may have arisen, but to me it just felt too drawn-out.

Fourth wall

Regardless, there was some amazing improvisation by Keddy Sutton who plays Polly, Molly, Dolly and Holly. Her shoe unexpectedly broke at one point, which she quickly covered up with the response to the front row saying “Don’t worry about that – it’s just my bunion”, at which the theatre erupted in laughter.

The fourth wall was continuously broken, which people would either love or hate, I personally loved it. The timings of this were executed perfectly and had the audience, one again, laughing.

The play is targeted towards an older audience which was made apparent in the scene of the séance where each cast member took a turn to impersonate late celebrities such as Elvis and Michael Jackson, but also other celebrities who I personally wasn’t aware of, yet other members of the audience who appeared older loved!

There was the puzzling inclusion of some obscure musical numbers in the play. I wasn’t a fan of this as it didn’t show any relation to the play – I found it very odd.

Overall, this play wasn’t for me personally but I think older audiences would enjoy it more.

  • Star rating: 3 out of 5
  • The Scousetrap is at the Royal Court until October 29.

Featured image: Paolo Chiabrando via


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