Arts Review: Walking Shadows

Dir.Michael Lewis, Webster’s Theatre, 25th – 28th March 2015

The West End’s very own Webster’s Theatre hosts  Michael Lewis’ hilarious, quirky, and talent-saturated Walking Shadows. Equipped with a remarkable cast, Lewis delivered a night of farcical Scottish comedy, with live music proving for innovative theatre.

The show begins backstage with a lousy, intoxicated theatre company director who wishes to transport us back in time to three months earlier where the mishap and mischief began. We witness a dreadful ordeal of amateur auditions which include incredible one-liners and the fourth wall being completely disregarded. The audience is fully immersed within the theatre company, feeling as if they are intruding on the atmosphere of being backstage with the protagonists.

Act two sees the frightful theatre company perform ‘Oil’s Well That Ends Well’ – pushing the boundaries of convention by existing as a play within a play. And hilarity ensues with the mistakes of the amateurs, pretty odd American accents, and a fascination with a rubber chicken.

Meeting one of the performers in the interval, Francesca Haughey – who plays the pale, fainting sweetheart ‘Florence’ – she states that we have “seen nothing yet!” After already an engaging, promising show it seemed unlikely to surpass our already satiated expectations…

However Act 3 is a series of unfortunate events and incredibly unusual, entertaining surprises… including the appearance of an adorably pampered Shih Tzu named Tiggy! We are transported again to backstage as the show is performed. A silent child commits terrible crimes with stolen props, and laxative tablets. The audience sees the true workings of a backstage set, as the company falls apart and someone loses their pants with many tears and states of unconsciousness in the process.

Walking Shadows highlights how little the audience are aware of the workings (or failings!) of a show backstage. Lewis cleverly highlights the fuzzy boundaries between reality and creativity through his intelligent and hilarious Scottish comedy. We look forward to tasting more of his talent in the future!

[Emmie Harrison – @emmieeharrison]

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