Billy Liar Character List
Age ranges are a mere guideline, we may go older or younger depending.
Please note that a Northern English (Yorkshire) accent is used in this production, but the accent is lower middle-class and not the working class “ee by gum” accent, although there is an exception with the character of ‘Rita’. Please refer to You Tube under Yorkshire accents and there will be guidance at the audition and during rehearsal.
This role has been precast and is therefore unavailable to audition for.
Billy lives with his parents Alice & Geoffrey, and his grandmother, Florence Boothroyd. Billy lies compulsively to everyone he comes across, whether it’s the claim that his father is a retired naval captain/cobbler, or telling his parents that Arthur’s mother has broken her leg. Billy works as a clerk for undertakers Shadrack & Duxbury. He is engaged to two girlfriends, and love with a third and constantly refers to a vague job offer writing scripts in London for “Danny Boon”, a comedian.
Alice Fisher (45-55)
Billy’s mother. She rarely sits down in the play, constantly working hard to keep the house tidy and look after her husband, mother, and Billy. Alice is a simple and uncomplicated woman who has set her values many years ago and never re-examines them.
Geoffrey Fisher (45-55)
Billy’s father, Geoffrey uses the word “bloody” in his sentences so often it has lost all meaning. Geoffrey has been a successful garage owner and a man who works in the removal business so his family live middle class lives despite his working class background. Geoffrey has a short temper, but otherwise rarely shows emotion. Relations between Geoffrey and Billy have broken down, providing the main source of conflict in the story.
Florence Boothroyd (65-80)
Billy’s grandmother, Alice’s mother. She is ignored by her family and never seen as a loved character until the end. Florence talks to the sideboard more than her own family, and is always drinking tea out of a pint pot. She keeps pots of condensed milk upstairs. Florence falls ill in Act 2 and is taken upstairs. By Act 3, she has died. She likely has a form of dementia because of her strange behaviour throughout the book. However, we should get the impression that she hears a great deal more than she appears to do. Her age is either 80 or 81 years old, and she was born in August.
Arthur Crabtree (20-30)
Billy’s best friend. Arthur works at Shadrack & Duxbury with Billy. When we first see Arthur and Billy together in Act 1, they adopt thick northern accents and in buffoonery, imitating their elders. Despite this tomfoolery, Arthur’s mood towards Billy changes in Act 3, he grows impatient and jealous as the play moves along, there is a strong character change. He does not appear in Act 2.
One of Billy’s fiancées. Barbara is prudish, always eating oranges, and harbours dreams of living with Billy in a cottage in Devon, with “little Billy and little Barbara”. She finds out about other girlfriends later in the play. Her reaction to Rita arises not too much out of jealousy at a rival as out of revulsion at having to face a side of life not normally on view through her rose-coloured spectacles.
Rita comes across as a “hard lass”; she is a difficult character to play in that she has been written deliberately on one note, and a high one at that. She is engaged to Billy, and has a habit of mimicking Billy every time he offers an excuse for her missing engagement ring. Unbeknown to her, it is on Barbara’s finger. She appears in Acts 2 & 3.
Liz is described as a scruffy girl in need of a new skirt. She is nevertheless the one who truly understands Billy, and the only one he really has a genuine interest in. Liz has a down to earth quality which she she tries to transmit to Billy. Before her appearance in the play, Billy pretends he doesn’t have much interest in her, but it is clear when she appears that he is still smitten with her.