MCGOUGH/PATTEN Everyman IT'S Nearly Half-a-Century [...]; Review

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Byline: Catherine Jones

MCGOUGH/PATTEN Everyman IT'S nearly half-a-century since the Mersey Poets first performed in Hope Street, and it's four years since the remaining versifiers - Roger McGough and Brian Patten - appeared together at the Everyman.

But if there were ghosts about the theatre last night, they were no doubt smiling along with the rest of the sell-out audience.

Patten made an early reference to the missing member of the Mersey Sound triumvirate, drawing the first laugh of many by recalling how it was downstairs in the bistro that Adrian Henri 'romantically and optimistically' fell in love - with a nun. But while Henri may have been absent, his long-time collaborator Andy Roberts was on hand to add mellifluous acoustic guitar and rhythmic lead and backing vocals to proceedings.

It wasn't slick, it wasn't polished - in fact there was an air of diffidence about the performances.

But, bathing in an atmosphere of goodwill, it was the content not the presentation that really mattered, and they gave the room its money's worth in verse that proved complementary chalk and cheese. McGough's Gateway to the Atlantic is essentially about Liverpool, but last night's version (which seemed to have inherited something of his Radio Merseyside birthday verse) summed up the poets too in its line: "I am the gift of the gab, and the quiet word. …