Whilst back in London last week, I went along to the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond (a lovely theatre I’d not been to before) to check out West End Wilma Award Winner Evelyn Hoskins in a new play by Joe White, Mayfly.
It’s a tale we can all relate to, grief. I spent the majority of the 90 minute, one-act play, trying to figure out what was going on (in a good way). The audience are given pieces of information but never quite enough to know what is happening which kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. Why is dad trying to drown himself in the river? Why is mum throwing herself at men in the pub? And why is Loops only now declaring her love for the man she has had feelings for for years? All three meet the same man on the same day, Harry (played brilliantly by Irfan Shamji), and he becomes the catalyst for how they all deal with their grief.
Mayfly deals with serious subject matter but I was surprised at how funny it was at the same time which nicely kept things from being too heavy to focus on. Evelyn Hoskins is brilliant as tom boy Loops who says she has never cried and is as hard as nails. Simon Scardifield and Niky Wardley (as Ben and Cat) are hilarious and together these four actors carry the show through wonderfully.
Performed in the round, the set design by Cecile Tremolieres is simple yes wonderful, with a tree hanging over the audience and mud on the ground. After a wet and messy opening scene it would have been nice if there was a way to remove the mess before delving in to other scenes but at the same time it helped keep the message of everything being a mess which was ultimately the crux of the play.
As I said, I couldn’t work out how it was going to end and was hoping there would be a huge climax that would leave me shook but it didn’t quite turn out as dramatic as I was hoping. Nonetheless it was a serious topic well told and almost brought a tear to my eye at the end (I’m not much of a cryer, like Loops).
Mayfly really is worth a trip to Richmond (right by the station) to see before 26 May 2018 when it ends its run.
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Photo: Helen Murray