Julie Atherton has the best mournful, half-cut stare into the middle distance I’ve ever seen on stage and she puts it to good use in The Green Fairy.
As Jo, she’s spends large portions of the show slumped on a bar stool in the titular pub, reliving a skinful of past regrets and bad decisions in flashback form.
It may sound a little depressing, but it’s not all doom and gloom. Jack Sain and Stephen Libby have put together a pleasingly uncomplicated score to soundtrack Jo’s alcohol-soaked, queer-tinged retrospective. The young cast backs up William Bullivant on the piano with acoustic guitars, folksy strings and a bit of bar-surface percussion, giving the piece an inclusive, open mic-style atmosphere.
It’s an ambitious concept, but everyone has the musical chops to pull it off – enviably so in some cases, as when Emma Whittaker whips out her third instrument of the evening.
That said, there’s no getting away from the fact that Sain’s production is too long – half an hour could comfortably be lopped off the running time. After the energetic fizz of the first act, the second feels a bit like that one drink too many after which everything gets a little muddled and unfocused.
Still, who can honestly say they know when to call it a night?