I was undeniably nervous about seeing A Crown of Laurels, the second original musical from the creative partnership of Lavie Rabinovitz and Ryan Hay. The show had been careful to emphasize in its publicity that plot themes revolved around sexual assault, and the atmosphere pervading the audience as we assumed our seats was a kind of subdued intrigue – as it should be. I was happy to realize that the show was to be performed in the round; a tough ask for a two-hander, but one that the musical’s leads tackled with energetic aplomb.
We were welcomed into the Barron by Wilf Wheatley, collecting our tickets in character. Wheatley’s Cornish-accented stationmaster was the first sign that Mermaids’ latest production, Arnold Ridley’s The Ghost Train, was going to be a raucous affair: teetering between camp comedy and jump-scare titillation.
Just So Society’s production of the classic musical Sweet Charity was performed with verve, vivacity and confidence. Director Hanna Lawson has brought to life a complex set of moving parts in a bold, brash, joyous show that didn’t take itself too seriously and set a smile on every spectator’s face.
Rabbit Hole, Mermaids’ first StAge show of the semester, was a testament to the virtue of simplicity. Director Emma Gylling Mortensen has produced a play that is very clearly a passion project, and her affection for the text was made obvious by creative decisions – from the staging, to a lavishly detailed set, not to mention an inspired playlist – that demonstrated a commitment to utter precision.