EFR - Reviews of Mrs Green

Mrs Green

Sat 3rd – Sat 24th August 2013

reviews

Samuel Graydon

at 02:29 on 17th Aug 2013

2agrees

0disagrees

I love this play. As in all cases of love, it is difficult for me to express quite why I have the feelings I do, but I shall endeavour to do my best.

It is a wonderful and truly endearing piece, focused around the incredibly well-imagined character of Mrs Green: the “fairy godmother” of Nottingham. She and her many friends proceed, in amongst a truly beautiful story, to sing songs.

‘Mrs Green’ is a musical then. Quite so. But not your usual no-holes-barred, fireworks-and-jazz-hands musical. Somehow, even with the feisty, soulful, and superbly written songs, there is achieved a homely and comfortable atmosphere where the audience feel part of the play, feel as if they too have come round to Mrs Green’s house for tea and pot-brownies and a jam session. The venue helps with this wonderfully intimate atmosphere, suiting the play down to the ground, but, as this was a fortunate coincidence, I shall return to the play itself.

As I have alluded to, the songs are excellent. Both in lyric playfulness and intelligence, and in the music itself, which is played so enthusiastically by Nic Harvey. Indeed, I take my hat off to him. In having written the songs, and written and directed the play, Harvey has proved himself to be exceedingly talented.

This is not to say that this is a one man show - far from it. The performances (vocal and dramatic) from all the cast are truly great, particularly from Ben Welch who certainly has remarkable stage presence, and inhabits the role of Mrs Green so fantastically. His comic timing is impeccable, and when required to bring a tragic and more serious note to the performance he did so with equal talent.

I think the greatest thing about this play is the fact that I cannot stop smiling. Even when I leave, I simply cannot stop. It is so heartfelt, so funny, and just so good. It wells emotion inside of you, so much so that you cannot help but think how good it would be if life was a musical itself.

I have already seen this show twice, and will be going to see it again, and I sincerely hope that those who have not seen it will go and see it too. For it is a rare occurrence that I can say, with complete truth, that I really think I would not change anything about a show. But, you see, I really do love this show.

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Emma-Jane Manion

at 10:12 on 17th Aug 2013

2agrees

0disagrees

In the eaves of the Dram House, we are invited into a very special living room. A small, but perfectly formed, space that glows with warmth where people fit in whatever way they can; every seat is filled, people sit on the floor at the front, down the aisle and stand at the back. We wait with eager anticipation as the Blues Brothers ‘Twist it’ begins.

Mrs Green is a cannabis growing, brownie baking, ex-backing singer and advice giver. She performs a service to her community; she is a healer not a dealer. Her house always has an open door for people to pop in for a cup a tea, a brownie and a sing song. Ben Welch puts in a fantastic performance as Mrs Green, which starts even before he hits the stage – you may meet Mrs Green in the queue, say hello, or have a little chat. He embodies this character completely - naughty, but never crude; funny and, often, moving.

The cast have a chemistry which is not easy to fake or create. The characters are familiar, but they are performed so well that they avoid slipping into cliché. Familiarity can also be a sign of the convincing realness of each of the characters. It is a joy to watch them all on stage together. They are all very good singers: each of their voices has its own unique quality. The songs feel spontaneous, and are sung with a raucous, carefree attitude. We feel we really are in someone’s living room, where you don’t care how you look when you dance because you are enjoying yourself.

Jokes come thick and fast. I have now seen the show twice and they hold up just as well the second time. Not once is timing off. This is a finely tuned piece, which I would call slick if it weren’t too cosy for such a word. Natural is more appropriate. It isn’t without its slip ups: actors accidently choke or trip over instruments. But this is handled with humour and is all part of the nature of Mrs Green’s shambolic little family.

It should be too sentimental. The message it communicates is heart-warming but well-worn; that we all need a helping hand. But ‘Mrs Green’ has that indefinable quality. If I wanted to be trite I could call it magic. It is a wonderful piece of musical theatre that received a standing ovation, even in room where the sloping ceilings meant we had to stoop or crouch. This is an intimate theatrical experience, which will leave you feeling elated and still humming the songs as you got out again into the streets of Edinburgh.

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