The Bunker Trilogy: Morgana

The Fringe is an incredible month for theatre but boy does it have some soulless venues. Hotel conference rooms, broom cupboards, university lecture halls with wheezing air conditioning like an arthritic elephant. It is therefore a treat to enter a space so fully imbued with the atmosphere of the play it is hosting - even if in the case of The Bunker Trilogy: Morgana, that space is a clammy bunker in which you are immediately required to get more intimate with your neighbours.

Two love stories intertwine in the claustrophobic confines of a World War One trench; Arthur and Lancelot yearn for Gwen left behind in Cornwall; Gawain chases the semi-mythical whistling French girl who may or may not be the spirit of Morgana le Fay. Three school friends are the only ones of their Arthurian boyhood order left standing and are coming to realise that childhood games of the Knights of The Round Table bear little resemblance to world warfare.

The beginning few scenes of banter are somewhat reminiscent of Blackadder Goes Forth: Dan Wood playing earnest leader Arthur even has a look of Tim McInnerny. Sweet yet innocent of both women and war, James Marlowe’s Gawain may not be a dyed-in-the-wool Baldrick but is undeniably the clown of the threesome. Finally, Sam Donnelly’s brooding Lancelot tends to hide unspoken desires for his best friend’s girl behind an aggression peculiar to repressed private-school boys. The bickering and music-hall songs dynamic of the men soon gives way to more fantastical elements; Serena Manteghi’s Gwen floating around the bunker singing old Cornish folk songs, is a very solid manifestation of the life the three soldiers have left behind.

The relationships between the characters are clearly and sensitively drawn, years of friendship are made apparent through an awkward hand on a shoulder or a half smile. Gawain’s stilted admission to Morgana that he loves his friends is deeply moving.

Transitions between scenes I felt could have been made crisper and more interesting - especially considering that the short vignette nature meant there were a lot of them. I also found the denouement of both love affairs a little unsatisfying, not to mention that Manteghi’s Morgana and Gwen remained little more than enigmatic ciphers conjured up through the imaginations of men.

Nonetheless, Morgana is an engrossing, charming riff on an ancient legend, married neatly with an account of claustrophobic desperation and the longing for home, the past, or something that never existed in the first place.

Reviews by Laura Francis

theSpace on Niddry St

The Bastard Queen

★★
Traverse Theatre

Pre-View:

★★★
The Assembly Rooms

A Split Decision

★★
Pleasance Courtyard

Show Off

★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

The Blurb

The Arthurian legend. The trenches: three soldiers in search of distraction and delight find more than they bargain for in the beautiful and mysterious Morgana Le Fay. From the writer of The Tartuffe: * * * * * (Time Out). www.TheBunkerTrilogy.com

Most Popular See More

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £29.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Hairspray

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets