15% of The Seagull

Directed by Tim Schulz and written by Liberty Martin, Cheryl Mayer and Lauren Stapleton, 15% of The Seagull is a humorous glimpse into the world of theatre adaptation and casting. Keeping their own names, Liberty and Cheryl are the stars of the show. Liberty plays the role of the serious actress attempting to put on her own production of Chekov’s masterpiece The Seagull. Everything falls to pieces when members of her cast fall away one after the other, leaving her with just one actress to work with - the charming, though empty-headed, Cheryl.

15% of The Seagull makes for a pleasant hour’s viewing, although it is by no means unmissable.

With a cast of just two to put on a play that traditionally requires 10 main characters, Liberty and Cheryl struggle to get permission to put on The Seagull. After a series of comical interactions with publishing companies, they are left with the sole option of evading copyright regulation by putting on just 15% of the play. Though polar opposites, the academic Liberty and flippant Cheryl are forced to stop bickering and find common ground in the goal of producing a piece of “great theatre.”

The show provides a light-hearted representation of the acting world: the show opens with a series of short, stereotyped representations of actor types. From the audition room to the church confessional, the manicure salon and the psychiatrist’s office, Mayer and Martin provide a series of varied yet relatable portraits that get good laughs from the audience. They aren’t afraid of the odd pun either, especially when finding props has Cheryl “running around like a headless Chekov.”

The pair complement each other well, and although the play is almost slapstick in nature and its main aim is to get the audience giggling, the actresses’ genuine talent shines through. Mayer’s delivery of a passage from Chekov’s play (recited in earnest) demonstrates her ability for classic dramatics. Martin takes on the ironic part of playing the terrible actress with admirable gusto. 15% of The Seagull makes for a pleasant hour’s viewing, although it is by no means unmissable. 

Reviews by Maria Hagan

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The Blurb

One serious actor, one flippant amateur, one classic Chekhovian drama and a very naughty seagull, equal one hilarious and touching theatrical comedy. Flying in via Brighton and Camden Fringes, this comedy two-hander follows one star-struck woman’s attempt to produce, direct and star in her own production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull. Deserted by almost all of her acting company, Liberty Martin is convinced that the show must go on, accompanied by her one remaining cast member, Cheryl Mayer. ‘Brilliantly acted and cleverly written… a new French and Saunders’ **** (Latest). www.mayerandmartin.com

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