Matthew Kelly’s legacy as ‘that guy who hosted Stars in Their Eyes’ is slowly being shed through a number of impressive theatre performances. The latest, his portrayal of Toby Belch in Twelfth Knight at the recently refurbished Everyman Theatre in Liverpool.

Matthew KellyMatthew Kelly's role in Twelth Knight has been lauded

The Twelfth Knight, which is directed by Everyman & Playhouse artistic director Gemma Bodinetz, sees Kelly play the perennially drink Belch. A wobble in his step and a scruffy beard upon his chin; he bumbles purposefully about the stage, delivering his lines with inebriated gusto. But don’t take our word for it; the critics were delighted with Kelly’s latest work on the stage.

Kelly, “who was pleasingly rumbustious in the role of the sozzled uncle,” according to The Independent, performed will in a “colourful, brash production which squeezed every ounce of bawdy humour out of Shakespeare’s source material.”

“Matthew Kelly is a great Sir Toby Belch, a bearded boho in a red beret he could have fallen out of some louche arts club any time in the last four decades,” says The Express’ Neil Norman.

“Cross-dressing Feste (popular local star Paul Duckworth in Lily Savage mode) helps the comedic scenes flow with effervescent Mr Kelly and Mr Keast (in smashing, almost Rik Mayall mimicry fashion) proving laughs galore,” went The Wirral Globe’s review. “What an intro to a new Everyman era,” the local publication proclaims.

“There are certainly some headline performances in what is a high quality all-round production,” wrote Catherine Jones in her 4-star review for The Liverpool Echo, calling Kelly “the starriest name”.

So it looks like exciting times for both Liverpool’s theatre scene and Matthew Kelly as a theatre actor. Who knows, maybe he’ll be taking some more TV roles on after these glowing reviews.