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Good Luck, Studio - Mercury Theatre

Photograph -Pamela Raith

When you know a production comes from the halloed halls of ‘The Play that Goes Wrong’ you have a certain expectation of what you are going to see. This is a darkened version of their typical work and while you are laughing throughout you are also aware of the thread of something else running throughout the play which brings it to a startling and emotional conclusion.

The Mercury Theatre always bring us exceptionally good live theatre in Colchester, and this from Mischief Theatre and Wiltshire Creative was yet another example.

I particularly liked the concept of the set which was based on 3 locations – the sound stage, the galley and the medics room. When all brought together the links between the different locations became clear adding to the piece and the humour.

The cast of 10 all gave very strong performances, and each understood the nuances of their character. Adam Byron as Anthony gave us a hugely believable septuagenarian, comfortable with the words of Shakespeare and hamming it up with booming references and grandioso gestures. Jemma Geanus as Elizabeth was both the sweet and sour actress, portraying sickly princess pineapple for the kids and the bitter wannabee who longs for a serious acting assignment. Chris Leask as the replacement Wibble the Dragon had all neediness of an aspiring actor frantically trying to maintain his job while enduring the ridiculousness of a man with two broken hands looking like a tyrannosaurus rex in a dragon costume! Comic Genius!

Sophia Lorenti as Michaela the down trodded stage manager showed us the frustration of working with an egotistical and opinionated Director. Tom Walker as that Director Andy had all the best/worst bits of many people I have known working in the industry. I really enjoyed his performance because it was brutally funny and very intense. This contrasted beautifully with Bryony Corrigan as Saorise the producer, with her Irish accent and passionate fear of financial disaster as well as challenging Andy at every possible opportunity, meant that together they gave us a perfect pairing.

Eboni Dixon as Pam, the ‘unseen’ puppeteer was another well-developed character, with a quiet, almost calming effect on the chaos unravelling around her, although desperate to be noticed. Gareth Tempest as David the psychopathic Wibble wannabee brought all the darkness to the play and on occasions really hit home with some heart felt emotions.

However, the two outstanding performances of the evening for me, were Harry Kershaw as Sean, the writer and Greg Tannahill as Kevin the medic. Kershaw clearly understood the traits of his character and his observations were spot on. I loved so many of the little or not so little qualities he brought to this character, intense but with the right elements of humour. He shone alongside Greg Tannahill's hapless medic Kevin. Tannahill’s physical comedy was spot on – everything from his nose/phone work to his physical flexibility and comedic timing. When you think about the great physical comedy actors such as Buster Keaton or Jerry Lewis, Tannahill embraced all this and brought it to a modern-day audience.

All in all, this was not the belly laughing product we expected from the Mischief performers but that said, we really did enjoy it. It did have lots of great visual humour and was certainly highly entertaining. In today’s society where we need something to lift us up and give us something to smile about there is no doubt ‘Good Luck, Studio’ certainly did do that.

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