Mouthing Off by Grasey Mayes

The Rondo Theatre

Wednesday 27 and Thursday 28 June 2012

It is evident from speaking with Grasey Mayes that she has great focus and ambitions for her work, at a mere 18 years old time is most definitely on her side; having created Second Face Theatre Company and performing in the premiere of her play Mouthing Off at The Rondo this week, the first stage seems has reached fruition; completed in March 2011 following rewrites, readings and rehearsals it is now ready for an audience.

The plot revolves around 3 actresses performing in a stereotypically bad amateur production of Macbeth, one of whom is a replacement for a former cast member so has limited knowledge of what she is doing. The piece is a commentary of most “Am Dram” companies, the personalities are the stereotypes that are indeed found in most societies and anyone watching will know at least one of each. Each have a story to tell and their world is one of lost souls with broken backgrounds finding some solace in the amateur theatre circuit.

It is a demanding play for 3 performers, the use of staging is good and the creation of a forestage to watch the desperately bad production they are part of is used to good effect – nice touches of lighting from Luke John Emmett add to the atmosphere, the moon gobo working well.

Lesley Langley as Adele controls the script well, a good performance well defined and her wish for what might have been providing a believable insight into her inner feelings alongside the most recognisable caricature of the Am Dram world Penny. Alex Oliviere – Davies grasps the wounded unsuccessful professional actress Penny with all her might and shows every possible shade of over- acting, despair and preoccupation with herself that you would seek to avoid her in any production situation; her obsession with the Rose Bowl Award bringing the play back to its West Country roots but worth the laughs regardless for those who have been at their mercy.

Rhea (Jazz Hazelwood) is the youngest of the three characters and her resolute professionalism ensures the show does not fall into total disrepair as they open a bottle of wine; Rhea becomes a voice of reason and the glimmering prospect of optimism for the others.

Directed by Valerie Izzard, the pace keeps going even through the occasionally over long moments of dialogue

It is without doubt a huge undertaking to have got a play to the stage in such a short space of time, whilst it would be prudent to edit the piece further to bring the running time down slightly and perhaps consider more dowdy, cramped surrounding to create a more claustrophobic dressing room; it has to be remembered that Grasey Mayes has done this and it is an exceptional achievement.

Ellen Rose

Tues 26 June 2012

 Performances continue Wednesday and Thursday.   Tickets: £9 / £7

 All bookings: Bath Festival Box Office: 01225 463362 or on the door.