The Royal Court Selection Box opened at Liverpool’s Royal Court last Friday to applause and acclaim from audiences.

Promising laughter, fun and a great evening of entertainment, it features an incredible cast including Jamie Clarke, Keddy Sutton, Andrew Schofield, Michael Fletcher, Stephen Fletcher, Jake Abraham, Liam Tobin, Joe Speer, Lindzi Germain, Hayley Sheen, Michael Starke, Eithne Browne, Roy Brandon and Cath Rice.

Safety measures are in place at the theatre including temperature checks, new cleaning procedures, enhanced table service, one way systems, paperless tickets and hand sanitisers and socially distanced audiences and casts.

The show is being performed using two casts, festively named the Crackers Cast and the Presents Cast, who perform on rotation.

Cath Rice is performing as part of the Crackers Cast and is delighted to welcome audiences back to Liverpool’s Royal Court:

“We’re honoured to be able to work and to put this performance on. We can’t wait to see the audience and welcome them back”.

Cath Rice described the feeling of performing the show to an audience for the first time during their dress rehearsals earlier last week:

“Suddenly to have that live audience in, it was a really great feeling. To hear them too – and laughing in the right places! It’s an emotional journey. We feel it as a cast and I’m sure the audience are going to feel that. It’s nice to be back”.

Describing the show as “an utter assortment of delights”, the Royal Court Selection Box pays homage to the classic variety shows of the 70s and 80s, while making nods to memorable Liverpool’s Royal Court Shows of days gone by.

“It’s like a proper variety show. It’s great the way it has been put together and it’s a great idea. Think of shows like Sunday night at the London Palladium. It has the class of it all, but it also has this gameshow element at one point too. I think it hits the traditions of the 70s and goes through the decades. You can come along and expect a good night of variety and entertainment. I love that about it and we’re all really enjoying it.

“There’s also bits of pantos and shows from yesteryear at the Royal Court too, which blends in really nicely with this. Little bits that will make people go ‘oh I remember that’!”

Cath Rice (C) Liverpool’s Royal Court

Written and Directed by Stephen Fletcher, the Royal Court Selection Box also incorporates additional material from the cast.

For anyone who watched Cath Rice’s hilarious ‘Our Bev’ videos recorded during lockdown, I was eager to ask whether the character would be making an appearance during the show.

“Our Bev isn’t making an appearance, but she’s definitely there because I do a little bit of stand up, said Cath.

“Everybody has their own input and piece that they’re doing. It’s fantastic. The vocals are amazing from Hayley [Sheen] and Jamie [Clarke] too. I do a bit of stand up with my bit and Keddy [Sutton] takes a little bit from a show she did, but it’s all been changed to really suit the show. That’s what’s really good about it – everything belongs to this show. It’s great working with Stephen Fletcher as well”.

Like many venues across the UK, Liverpool’s Royal Court has been closed since March and the cast were eager to get back onto the stage and deliver a feelgood festive show when the theatre reopened.

It was a return back to a stage that Cath describes as a feeling of coming home for the cast.

“We are the first show to have been on at Liverpool’s Royal Court since March. We’ve been rehearsing in the theatre and it has been incredible.

To rehearse and be on that stage, it feels like I’ve come home. It feels like you’re coming home. To see and work with people that you love and people you haven’t seen for a while, you appreciate everyone’s talent and how much the industry needs it. We’ve missed it”.

For anyone who has seen a show at Liverpool’s Royal Court, you will know that many performances leave you crying with laughter.

So how do the cast manage to get through rehearsals without laughing all the time?

“We have such a laugh, but you have to be careful not to lose your focus as you do laugh so much. It’s just brilliant! We do laugh, but there’s a lot of singing and a lot of dancing.

“We’re all really excited. It’s just lovely and these are the best people. You know when you’re just working with the best people and although we’re working, they make it seem like we’re just having a good time”.

The return of theatre to the Royal Court will be an emotional moment for both the performers and audiences.

Theatre, those who perform in it and those who work behind the stage in various roles to make the performance possible, is a vital part of the wellbeing and lives of people across the world.

Reflecting on the impact that the Royal Court and its productions have had on audiences throughout the years, Cath Rice sums up the importance of theatre for so many people:

“Theatre has messages to deliver. I think it’s wellbeing too – theatre is needed. Take the Royal Court for example, it’s feel good. The audience have a laugh and there’s characters the audience recognise and go ‘oh that’s like such and such’. It’s what it creates. You get absorbed in what is happening on that stage.

“When you watch a good show, you’re still singing the songs or talking about it, remembering bits that made you laugh or made you cry, and exploring your emotions. That’s what I think theatre does”.

The Royal Court Selection Box is at Liverpool’s Royal Court until 30th January 2021.

Tickets are on sale now.