NO wonder Billy is tempted when he gets the chance to leave home.

His father, far from being a barrel of laughs, rules the Fisher household like the most draconian of dictators, constantly cutting him down with a barrage of criticisms.

His gran is just as bad, moaning for England, Scotland and Wales. Billy takes refuge in a fantasy world, a world in which full of glamour and excitement, a world in which anything is possible.

Billy Liar, the kitchen sink masterpiece, is being revived at the Royal Exchange Theatre and it’s a beautifully crafted, laugh out loud funny and poignant piece of writing featuring a memorable performance from Harry McEntrie as Waterhouse and Hall’s serial fantasist with not one but three women in his life.

He makes you warm to this charming character and you’ll find yourself inwardly rooting for him when he locks horns with his awful dad Geoffrey. Jack Deam fits the role perfectly as Geoffrey, Hitler with a pipe and slippers.

Sue Wallace is also great value as Billy’s grouchy gran, Florence.

I really enjoy this genre of theatre - this play evokes a north of England that only exists in folk memory and there’s a comforting warmth about it. Although the temptation to look back at the past through rose-tinted glasses is one to be avoided.

A true classic - enjoy. This really is an exceptional piece of writing.

* Until July 12. The box office is on 0161 833 9833. Star rating - ****