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Welcome to the culture club

High art, low art, musicals, opera and Coleen McLoughlin. All human life is revealed at the big 08 bash at St George’s Hall

Published on January 11th 2007.

Welcome to the culture club

“An opera about the Adelphi? The bloody Adelph!” spat the tobacco-chewing taxi driver on the way back from town last night. “That’ll probably get robbed as well.”

Our deeply cynical chauffeur was referring, of course, to Liverpool’s best known hotel and once its grandest, which unfortunately made the news in the summer for being a hotbed of theft.

But happier times are about to check in to the raffish hostelry, with the glad tidings that it is to feature in its very own opera, one of the 08 highlights which were unveiled at a stylish gathering in St George’s Hall on Monday.

The mind boggles as to who will play the parts of feisty manager Eileen Downey (Pete Price perhaps) and her deputy, Just Cook Will Yer (someone call Jimmy Corkhill) who featured in the squeamish reality TV show Hotel a few years back. Both were there last night, among throngs of the city’s great and not so good, who came for a flavour of what’s in store for Liverpool in 2008, Capital of Culture year.

Boxes of delightfully smelling scouse and locally brewed Cains beer were “keeping it local”, as was the news that the equally fragrant wives and girlfriends of local footballers are to feature in their own Cricket fashion show, adding that refreshing scally element to an artistic programme that includes Simon Rattle conducting the Berlin Philharmonic, a Gustav Klimt exhibition at the Walker, Pete Postlethwaite back at the Everyman and a big gig with stars of world renown on the waterfront “to be broadcast across the globe”. Acts TBC.

Gathered in the main hall which was decked out with giant white weather balloons held down by bags of Tate and Lyle sugar, the MC started off by commanding the 450-strong crowd to perform luvvie kissy kissy moves on the person next to them, and to call each other dahhling.

It was at this point we made our excuses and rapidly sidled out on a colour coded tour around the massive neo-classical former law courts, where we enjoyed the spectacle of white faced teenagers dressed as angels, and actors in Victorian garb who appeared occasionally from nooks and crannies to surprise the unwary, plus the Beatles locked in a jail cell and a brilliant performance by the pagoda Chinese Orchestra of children.

There will also be a musical about the legendary club Eric’s and one of the people who actually remembers it, Jayne Casey, was on hand last night, well on a bed actually, with two leather pets, doing a Cilla Black as she conducted mic’d up interviews with local cultural luminaries in her nightie.

The whole thing gets going this time next year with the Turner Prize being announced here and a Christmas Nativity version of the stunning Manchester Passion on the banks of the Mersey (has anyone called Jimmy Corkhill yet?)

So, all in all, no massive surprises at the moment, but it all looks like fun, and Councillor Warren Bradley, promises “there are plenty more rabbits to come out of hats yet” (no jokes about magic wands, Ed).

The event was the brainchild of Stephen Powell, a writer, actor and producer whose credits include that self-same Manchester Passion. He said: "I wanted to put together one show that was barmy and exotic and engaging, just like this city.”

Well said, Mr Powell and we wish you all well.

But an opera about the Adelphi? The bloody Adelphi?

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sally potterNovember 7th 2006.

The Adelphi - all that is best about Liverpool.It would be a great tribute to some industrious and very funny scousers to celebrate their wit, wisdom and humanity with a musical.Perhaps our own dear Cilla would come back and grace the stage one more time.Her Liverpool accent always brings the house down in pantomime and she has lost none of the beauty for which she was so reknowned when famous.

Salo WolfNovember 7th 2006.

Just a note in praise of the lovely Jayne Casey, legend, goddess and all-round lovely lass! A couple of years ago, following a bad time in my life, my good friend Alan Edmunds of Mulu, arranged for me to meet Ms Casey, a long-time musical hero of mine. Jayne was warm, funny, charming and spent all afternoon and most of the evening with us, signing my Pink Military/Industry records and even paying for dinner! How many artists would do that for their fans? I just wanted to say thanks Jayne, once again. I lost your e-mail address, but if you'd like to get in touch, mine is salowolf@hotmail.co.uk. You're a credit to Liverpool! Jack x

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