The Punter

Friday 12th May 
Written by Mike Morris

Deborah Morgan
is well-known to WoW’s audience and a good friend of WoW. After having her first chapter published in Pulp Idol – Firsts in 2010, her novel was picked up and published by Tindal Street as ‘Disappearing Home’. It was a brilliant debut, but Deborah has always had more than one string to her bow, and is a talented poet and song-writer. She’s a pretty fine singer too. Her latest project is The Punter, a play commissioned by Unity Theatre, which, due to delays in the final restoration work at the theatre itself, opened for a two-night showing at the Cornerstone theatre as part of WoWFest 2017.

Featuring two superb actors, Graham Hicks, who played the patient Nicholas, and Denise Kennedy as the local doctor, Margaret, the play, with most of the action taking place in the Doctor’s surgery, is a sharp interplay between two characters falling apart together, cracking under the strain of everyday life within the confines of a health service that isn’t fit for purpose for both doctor and patient alike; Jimmy, the skeleton in the corner who they team up with for some fine physical theatre, is a more than apt metaphor. There are many laugh-out-loud moments and lots of sharp dialogue, but this is a dark comedy, with hints of Yozzer Hughes, Alan Bleasedale’s classic creation of a man losing the plot in Hick’s portrayal of the travails of Nicholas. Kennedy’s doctor, Margaret, is an edgy, slow-burning performance of a woman on the edge, who’s growing realisation that she may in fact be on the wrong side of the doctor’s desk, forcing her into a final resolution to up sticks and spend more time with her own family.

The second half really came to life, particularly when the full skills of the actors was brought into play in the skeleton dance scenes. As Deborah prepares the play for a full run at The Unity later in the year, no doubt she and the actors will rework and sharpen, and audiences will again be in for a real treat from a fabulous Liverpool writer.