Omnibus, the first play to win the Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize, received full marks from theatre critics.
Omnibus is a fast moving farce that starts with three housemates lounging in front of the television on a Sunday afternoon. Their plans for a lazy day are put on hold when a surprise guest bursts in with a gun and a bag full of money.
Writer Katie Mulgrew won £10,000 and the chance to have the play produced by Liverpool’s Royal Court. The Royal Court teamed up with the Unity Theatre, and Omnibus was selected as the first play to be performed on the Unity stage, since its major refurbishment.
The Stage gave Omnibus four stars, writing: “This is very funny stuff…The plot manages to stay just the right side of plausible to hold the audience’s attention and the play has a satisfying overall shape to it” and “This interesting and seemingly unlikely association of the Unity and Royal Court theatres seems to have paid dividends – it could well be the start of a beautiful friendship.”
Liverpool Sound and Vision awarded the play 5 stars, writing: “To place Katie Mulgrew’s award winning production in such a spotlight was not only the right option but it is one that is one of marvellous integrity, the humour of the piece, the absolute virtuosity and luminous effect it has on the soul marks it out as a find that will have theatres clambering in the future to host it.”
Purple Revolver’s Chris High wrote: “Katie Mulgrew’s Liverpool Hope and Liverpool Royal Court Playwriting Prize Winner, Omnibus, is exactly that … an absolute winner from start to finish!…Omnibus is a farce of such feisty offerings, it fizzes and crackles like a grinder on metal and drives straight into top gear without barely slipping down to take the bends.”
The play is directed by Robert Farquhar and also stars Liverpool Hope graduate Alice Bunker-Whitney. Alice herself came in for praise, with Purple Revolver writing: “To have Ms. Bunker-Whitney once more in the Unity Theatre is also a huge bonus, an actor who is very much in the same league as those such as the incredible Eithne Browne, a woman to whom the art of comedy is so entrenched that the building’s fabric, its place in both the past and its very bright future, is indebted to.”
Picture c/o Brian Roberts photography.