Angus gets a review that says he’s ‘watchable’. The same, and much more, can be said for all the young cast of graduates and undergraduates in this delightful production of The Brave Anthology by Mezz Theatre Company at theSpace on North Bridge.
An uplifting and moving experience
The script is a clever combination of verse and prose, the former often used in monologues with metrical rhyming couplets, that reflect upon the nature of existence or create observations on various aspects of life. Beautifully written by Sam Pout, who also directs, and Becky Hinde, the story revolves around Angus, who is struggling with a combination of establishing himself in a highly competitive industry, living in London, dealing with his family and life in general. Interwoven with his story are the explorations, musings and lives of others engaged in a quest to discover what love and the world around them truly means. The methodology for this includes an intricate mix of conversations, direct address, commentary and narrative.
The company boasts that the play includes ‘techniques of Epic Theatre, Naturalism and Expressionism’. The good news is that they actually deliver on all fronts. The cast of eight is choreographed around the stage to use all available space and movement sequences enhance the themes. Sounds, music and lighting are similarly deployed with subtlety, supporting the emotional tones and avoiding intrusion or drowning. It’s all very slick and flows effortlessly. Quite simply, this cast knows its stuff.
Joshua Thomas embarks on Angus’ journey and reaches the heights of elation and the depths of despair during the trials and tribulations of his travels. He’s matched by Gez Downing, whose scenes as Connor combine head and heart in emotional exchanges. His monologue is a triumph of moving delivery, timing, tonal modulations and precise articulation. Which raises another joy of this production: all members of the cast speak clearly and can be heard. Not least among them are Lucy Ambrose and Lauren Sanders whose parts provide the opportunity to eloquently deliver dialogue and narrative. Ed Larkin, Mohamed Bangura, Anna Stanyon and Sophia Chimonas make up the rest of what might be described as this anthology of actors and there is not a weak link among them.
This production is an uplifting and moving experience that highlights the wealth of talent that exists in the country and allows us to join with Shakespeare (and Huxley) in saying, ‘Oh brave new world that has such people in’t’.