Writer: Anthony Morgan
Director: Charlie Mortimer
Reviewer: Dave Cunningham
The Public Reviews Rating:
The Legend of the Ghost Shark, written by Anthony Morgan, is described as a ‘surreal comedy’. This doesn’t really convey the quirky charm of the play but it does give an idea of the unique nature of the show.
Finding his day job reviewing restaurants unchallenging Jason (Christopher Brett with a gangly stature and an air of exasperation that is ideal for comedy) is commissioned to write a legend by a Shaman (James Nickerson -an urbane presence that nicely offsets the more histrionic performances). But there is a catch –telling the completed tale will act as a spell and raise a soul-devouring demon.
A script about difficulties experienced while writing could become self-indulgent; fortunately Morgan concentrates on telling the story rather than moaning about the creative process. This is not a conventional plot and to get the full effect of Morgan’s play audiences have to be willing to be drawn into his off-centre version of reality. The writer makes it easy with some terrific concepts. The narrator of the legend (a splendidly gothic Iona Thonger) is visible to everyone despite being a figment of Jason’s imagination. In this reality the police monitor plagiarism and there is an app that provides demonic chanting.
Director Charlie Mortimer creates a hyper-real atmosphere perfect for the alternate reality. Encouraging an exuberant cast to walk the fine line between goofy humour and going over the top. Victoria Brazier’s brash editor, Catherine, has an accent that would strip paint. Alison Darling’s apparently conventional Jacqueline is a gently sweet reminder of the positive conventions of fairy stories.
The Legend of the Ghost Shark is an unconventional reminder of just how much fun theatre can be.
Runs until 27th July 2012The Legend Of The Ghost Shark, 24:7 Festival - New Century House, Manchester,
Tags: 24:7 Theatre Festival, Alison Darling, Anthony Morgan, Charlie Mortimer, Christopher Brett, Iona Thonger, James Kerr, James Nickerson, Surreal Comedy, Tony De Angelis, Ultramarine Productions, Victoria Brazier