Writer: Rob Evans
Director: Gill Robertson
Reviewer: John Roberts
“The art of storytelling is dead…” a phrase that can be said about many productions that litter the fringe every year. You may have elaborate sets, celebrity castings, or 1001 other reasons to see a show, but if the production, cast and director fail to tell that story coherently and honestly then the experience can be hollow and soulless.
Thankfully that is not the case with Catherine Wheels’ production of The Ballad of Pondlife McGurk, here we have no set, or celebrity castings, instead we have Andy Manley a regular performer with Catherine Wheels and one story. Whether you are 5, 14, 50 or 89 the universal theme of friendships lost is a powerful one. We have all experienced the grief, the pain and the loss of losing a best friend but we also remember fondly many years later the good times you had with them and that is what makes The Ballad of Pondlife McGurk so strong.
Rob Evans has wrote a story that captivates, empowers and releases your imagination from the strangleholds of everyday life while Andy Manley expertly delves into, embodies and brings to life a host of characters with verve and vigour. The raw energy that is displayed on the empty stage is nothing short of epic. Gill Robertson directs with deft precision, enabling Manley to engage with his younger (and older) audience.
This is what theatre is all about, perfect performance, perfect direction and ultimately perfect storytelling.