Birkenhead playwright’s triumphant homecoming to Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre

Birkenhead-born Olivier and BAFTA award-winning playwright Michael Wynne makes a triumphant return to Merseyside with his latest play Cuckoo.

An all-Scouse cast of Sue Jenkins, Michelle Butterly, Jodie McNee, and Emma Harrison capture the intense relationships between three generations of women and the bonds of a modern family.

After a successful run at the Royal Court, London, Cuckoo flies home to the Liverpool Everyman from Wednesday 6 to Saturday 23 September 2023.

The cast features Sue Jenkins (Coronation Street for ITV, Brookside for Channel 4) as Doreen, the family matriarch, with her daughters Carmel and Sarah played by Michelle Butterly (Hope Place at the Everyman, Benidorm for ITV) and Jodie McNee (Twelfth Night at the Everyman, the film Judy) along with Emma Harrison, making her professional debut as the granddaughter Megyn.

As an established writer, Michael Wynne has become known for winning a BAFTA for Outstanding British Film with My Summer of Love; the Olivier Award-winning comedy The Priory and writing BBC One’s Being Eileen

His stage shows often bring him back home, with The Knocky, a family saga set on the Noctorum estate that kicked off his career and earned him the title of Best New Talent at Liverpool Echo Arts Awards; Hope Place, named after the Liverpool street where his mother grew up, this play was commissioned by the Everyman as part of the theatre’s re-opening season in 2014 and The Star, a love letter to the Liverpool Playhouse, celebrate the spirit of a music hall that opened 157 years ago and still stands on the site.

On writing his new play Cuckoo, Michael Wynne said, “We’re living in a time which can feel quite strange and uncertain, with the pandemic, Brexit and weird weather. The characters are working-class people who don’t have massive security, when tenets of society, like education and health, perhaps aren’t working in the way they did before, things become even more uncertain. 

“There’s also this idea about the way we use technology and especially phones, how these mini-computers in our hands have taken over our lives. Life is complex, and for the different characters, there are different struggles they’re going through. With a lot of my plays, things are funny at the beginning but then get quite dark later. Hopefully, we’ve got you by then and you want to stay!”

Cuckoo is a perfect, bittersweet snapshot of our age, exploring how different generations discuss issues and how having opposing opinions has become much more fraught within close families. The play is a dark comedy with everyday realism, created in partnership with the Royal Court Theatre, London, which rarely revives old productions and stages only new writing. 

Directed by Vicky Featherstone, the play will be performed at Liverpool Everyman from Wednesday 6 to Saturday 23 September 2023. Tickets priced £11 to £41.

Image credit: Manuel Harlan

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