Theatre Review: Maggie May @ The Finborough Theatre
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Based on the song (no, not the one by Rod Stewart) Maggie May follows the life of Liverpudlian prostitute Margaret Mary Duffy (Kara Lily Hayworth) , who is yearning for her lost first love. Known to her clients as Maggie May, she refers to every man she meets as ‘Casey’. We soon find out that Patrick Casey is the name of the only man she ever loved, who went out to sea and never returned… but alas - he does come back, and his return is the basis of a brilliantly funny but heartbreakingly sad musical.
Image courtesy of Ali WrightWritten by Alun Owen, The Academy Award nominated writer behind The Beatles' A Hard Days Night (1964) with music by musical legend Lionel Bart (the genius behind Oliver!) Maggie May is so much more than a love story. Whilst Maggie and Casey’s love is at the centre of the narrative it also takes a back seat at times to the struggles at the dockyard and the lives of the sailors and dockers who very much paint a realistic picture of the struggles of working class Liverpool back in the 1960s. Bart was well-known for bringing working class stories to the stage, in a time that they were rarely heard. Perhaps the dark and somewhat taboo subject matter of prositution is one of the reasons it hasn't been on stage for over five decades. It seems criminal that a show that won Novello awards and whose songs were covered by Judy Garland and Shirley Bassey, would just fade into the background. It debuted back in 1964 at The Aldelphi, so it was great to see it come home to London - albeit a long time later.
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