19th November 2016
Blue Elephant Theatre, Camberwell
MAZPOD Mad Meg
A cold wintry night is the perfect backdrop to MAZPOD’s new show Mad Meg – a fitting finale to this year’s Elefeet Dance Festival. Meg is a twitching, itching chatterbox. Full of ideas that no-one wants to hear, a burden to her father, farmed out to widowed neighbour.
Phoebe Douthwaite and Marianne Tuckman share the roles of narrator, Meg and her grizzly husband. Their interplay is supple and elastic; growing Meg’s character by shifting her persona between them, contrasting her “madness” with her vulnerability. In the same vein, the choreography ricochets between tenderness and violence. They curl up together cradling each other’s heads and in a striking final sequence, Tuckman – playing Meg – throws herself repeatedly at Douthwaite before ending crumpled on the floor.
Music performed by Laurence Marshall encapsulates the mood of the performance. His accordion breaths in and out, its reedy sound embellishing the spoken word. Flatfoot dancing punctuates the rhythm of speech and falls into conversation with Marshall‘s sweeping melodies.
The pace and tone is darkly upbeat. Beer swilling, belching humour runs alongside a murky tale of abuse. In the cosy upstairs bar, Marshall delights the audience with a pre-show gig – an old-style one man band, complete with bangs and whistles.
Mad Meg is well-rounded piece of story telling. MAZPOD’s production is attention grabbing and soulful. It’s a playful, irreverent mash-up of the vernacular and the theatrical. An engaging first offering from a company I hope to see more of.