Our first review is in for Festival ExtrA! Burke & Hare
As my husband will tell anyone who listens, I am obsessed with true crime. So, the performance of Burke and Hare by The Watermill Theatre on May 24th at the Morrell Room, which combined my love of true crime and comedy with theatre, had the potential to be a good night out. Having not attended anything like this in the village before, I didn’t know what to expect but as Festival Manager, I was hoping for something good.
The Watermill's production far surpassed every one of my expectations. From the moment the three cast members came on to the beautifully and very cleverly designed stage to tell their somewhat unbelievable story, it was an assault on the senses. An immersive theatre experience that had every audience member fully engaged (and participating, in some instances) and emotionally involved with the characters. The three cast members, Katy Daghorn, Alex Parry and Hayden Wood had fantastic on stage chemistry and did an exceptional job of making a gruesome and sombre topic completely farcical. Their ability to switch so easily between so many characters and such distinct personalities was effortless and their commitment to the characters, their mastery of regional accents and the clever use of manmade sound effects all added to the hilarity on the night. The chaotically comical scene when Burke meets Helen's family was expertly done and had the audience in stitches. The clever use of music throughout the performance gave a real energy and pace to the show, and the harmonies were absolutely on point. And whilst the play may well have been about the notorious Burke and Hare, the standout performance of the night was, without doubt, Katy Daghorn, who owned the stage with her performances of Helen, Mrs Hare and Professor Monro (among many others).
All in all, a fantastic first introduction to The Watermill Theatre and an explosive start to this year's Gap Festival.