Sisters of Mersey

After the five-star hit, A Thong for Europe in 2023, writer, Jonathan Harvey and director, Stephen Fletcher are back at Liverpool’s Royal Court theatre for their next collaboration. This time, we are transported to St Elmo’s Convent in Dingle back in the 1980s, where “identical twins”, Sister Petra and Sister Fionola, are about to get some shocking news…

Does the habit of the Royal Court’s smash-hit comedies continue or this a load of nun-sense? 

Unfortunately, it’s the latter, Lord have Mersey.

What has the potential to be a hilarious concept with a (St Elmo’s) fire cast and a nostalgic soundtrack is a convoluted production in need of editing and much needed rehearsal time.

Before I delve under the wimple, it must be said that the cast are phenomenal. Each performer plays a minimum of two roles and they firmly sink their rosaries into every line.

Lindzi Germain, as usual, is a powerhouse as Sister Petra Pottymouth/Eileen Forward. Her comic timing is impeccable and she commands the stage in every scene.

Keddy Sutton plays Sister Fionola Foghorn/Annabel Twadminger with a show stealing take on ‘r Cilla and, as with her roles in previous productions, proves she is a standout character actress who can garner a lorra, lorra laughs.

In her debut musical, Natalie Blair multi-roles as Cindy-Marie Forward, Sister Josie Paintbrush and Lydia Sideboard. Blair’s physicality excels as Cindy-Marie and it’s a joy to watch her reactions to her peers throughout their scenes.

Keshia Santos oozes star quality, especially during the musical numbers, with her high-energy and gorgeous vocals whilst Emma Bispham brings Hyacinth Bucket vibes to her Sister Mary Monobrow. 

Now the pleasantries are out the way, what went wrong?

As a regular patron of the Royal Court, one comes to expect f-bombs galore, Scouse jokes aplenty and a farfetched script that is tongue-in-cheek. Sisters of Mersey takes all of this to the extreme- to the point where laughter is lacking and there is much scratching of heads- even when prompted to respond in a panto-like fashion. It is hard to guise whether the 80’s soundtrack is shoehorned into the unnecessarily complex plot or vice-versa. Multiple inuendoes are repeated throughout to the point they become predictable. As aforementioned, expletives are thrown in constantly which tramples over the humour to the point of extinction, becoming tiresome and bland without a hint of wit- not something which is trademark for Scousers.

Choreography by Carrie-Anne Ingrouille (Six the Musical) is fine and distracts from the overbearing set- elements of which cause bother throughout. This is due to its clunky nature, particularly during long transitions which even a dance break with a chainsaw does not assist.

Sound design from Kate Harvey overpowers the dialogue during songs and although George Francis’ arrangements work during some scenes, a more collaborate approach to design would allow the narrative to flow more effectively.

Ian Scott’s lighting design was pleasant and added layers to the busy, eyesore of a set and Jamie Jenkin’s video design was well placed but lost in amongst the visual chaos. 

Whilst a comedy at the Royal Court is usually an easy-watch and keeps the spirits high, this production sadly left me feeling like I needed a bottle of spirit to get through to the curtain call. 

This show was reviewed on the 10th July 2024 at Liverpool's Royal Court where it runs until the 3rd August 2024.  Tickets available here: Sisters Of Mersey - Royal Court (

Review written by Lee Gregory


Photo credit: L1 Photography

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