The Garrick bringing Keith Waterhouse's comedy play Billy Liar to Nelson

Katy Taylor, Anne Chadwick, Marilyn Crowther, Jonathan Pye, Alan Hargreaves (director) and David Kendrick, who are starring in Billy Liar at The ACE Centre, Nelson, next month. Photos by Colin Antill Photography. (s)
Katy Taylor, Anne Chadwick, Marilyn Crowther, Jonathan Pye, Alan Hargreaves (director) and David Kendrick, who are starring in Billy Liar at The ACE Centre, Nelson, next month. Photos by Colin Antill Photography. (s)

Fantasy and reality collide in The Garrick’s fourth play of this season at The ACE Centre, Nelson.

Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall will be staged next month.


It will be a special production for director Alan Hargreaves, who played Billy 52 years ago for The Lucas Players.


Alan said: “At 23-years-old, being asked to play the part that Albert Finney (who died on February 7th) had made his own in the stage version a few years earlier, I felt flattered and a little bit over-awed.


“My suggestion last year to include this play in this season’s programme was accepted immediately by the Garrick committee.”


It tells of an imaginative youth named Billy who dreams of escaping his complacent, cliché-ridden background.


Delving into the world of make-believe, Billy begins to tell lies to everyone around him: his overbearing father; his concerned and caring mother; and his aged grandmother.


He also becomes involved in relationships with three girls, each bringing a different expectation to his life. Billy knows where he should go, but with whom?


“Although set in 1960, the play still stands the test of time, and will ring a few bells with the ‘older’ members of the audience,” Alan added.


“Rather than overt knock-about comedy, the play relies on situations and dialogue for humour, and pathos.”


Alan is back in the director’s chair for the third time with The Garrick, following Woman in Mind in November in 2016.


And, as always, he has chosen a strong cast with many familiar faces.


Jonathan Pye will star as Billy, following his comedic role as Simon in the Burnley Pantomime Society’s Jack and the Beanstalk earlier this year.


He was last seen with The Garrick in What I did at School Today in September in 2017.


Playing Billy’s friend Arthur Crabtree will be Leighton Hunt, who audiences may remember from All I Want For Christmas at Colne Little Theatre in December. He also performed alongside Johnathan in January’s panto at the Mechanics.


David Kendrick will appear as the father, Geoffrey, while Anne Chadwick is Alice, the mother. Theatre veteran Marilyn Crowther will make her return to The ACE Centre stage after three years, playing Billy’s grandmother Florence.


His three girlfriends will be depicted by Rachel Bailey, Katy Taylor, and Jenny Hardacre, who complete the cast.


Garrick audiences have already seen Rachel twice this season, and Katy last appeared in Dangerous Corner, which kick-started the society’s 2017 - 18 season.


Jenny has been welcomed back to the group after having last been seen as a youngster in The Darling Buds of May – The Garrick’s last play at Burnley Mechanics in May 2010.
Photos by Colin Antill Photography.


Performances: Wednesday to Saturday, March 20th – 23rd, 7-30pm nightly.

Tickets: £12 (standard), £11 (senior citizens), and £8 (juniors); from The ACE Centre box office (01282 661234), 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.

For further information search for Burnley Garrick Club on Facebook.