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Midsummer, Mercury Theatre - Colchester


Photo credit: Pamela Raith


 

This was a cleverly devised production. On entering the auditorium, we saw a scaled down set representing the Craigleith Sandstone buildings of Edinburgh. It was ingenious in its many uses with various pieces becoming a bed, a bathroom, a wine bar, a car park and so on. I was, however, curious about the purple egg on the grass stage left and longed for an insight into its presence there.


The set was in front of one of the most unusual backdrops I have seen, a wall of open black umbrellas which when lit from various angles gave such glorious effects and textures.  The lighting design was a big part of the whole production, giving depth and feeling to a range of ‘moments’ throughout the show.  In addition, the use of projection added a yet another dimension to the storytelling.


This four-handed musical play about a lost weekend in Edinburgh and the consequences when two strangers meet up, had so much to enjoy.  The narrators – Will Arundell and Laura Andresen Guimarães had great energy and magnetism. Will jumping from character to character, each well-defined and delivered with such a strong stage presence and Laura showing her musical prowess, confidently moving from Clarinet to Saxophone, Guitar to Piano with ease. They wove the story of Bob and Helena together so expertly.


Bob played by Ross Carswell, had a gentle roughness and delivered some beautiful sentimental moments and Helena played by Karen Young matched him well and they both had good comedic timing.


But what all four actors had, and what made this piece work so well, was great timing, which is a result of the strong script by David Greig and Gordon Mcintyre.  The witty writing gave us some great dialogue like the redescribing what he/she said and its alleged meaning in the bar at their first meeting. This is also down to the talented direction of Ryan McBride.


The striking theme of ‘Change is Possible’ all added to the magic and a special mention should go to the lovely music throughout which when all blended together gave a wonderful piece of theatre.  We really didn’t know what to expect with this production, but we found it charming, funny and uplifting. 

If you haven’t got a ticket then I strongly recommend you get one before it closes.

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