The Sun, The Mountain, and Me - Union Theatre
Bedivere Arts intertwine stories, myths and tales in their new production
An artist is on the edge, a prisoner of war sets out to climb a mountain and Icarus longs to escape his tower. All three need help but for a variety of reasons do not realise or do not want to ask for it. All told from the perspective of Arthur, a painter, who longs to be free, the latest piece from Bedivere Arts examines masculinity, art and mental health. Despite being a relatively small-scale production, it packs the punch of one more than twice its size.
With this being a solo performance, Michael Ayiotis has nowhere to hide and barely a moment to catch his breath, but where some might struggle, he thrives. Supported by superb direction from Jack Fairey, Ayiotis wields the space around him to fluently tell the connected tales with ease. He is a magnetic, natural storyteller with intelligent delivery and pacing, uncovering each speck of humour and emotion buried in the script. The subtle fluctuations in character are performed skilfully, ensuring the story is front and centre throughout. Ayiotis is one to watch.
Jack Fairey has provided both the text and direction for this production and the resulting cohesion is clear for all to see. Fairey’s innate knowledge of what the words are striving to achieve means that very little is wasted when translating them onto the stage and into Ayiotis’s performance. He is clever in how the space is utilised, keeping the play grounded in reality through the use of everyday items to reenact the tales whilst simultaneously gifting us striking visual moments brimming with grandeur and wonder - very impressive considering the size of this production.
Supporting the performance even further are the design and musical accompaniments. Firstly, the underlying score of this play is excellent. George Jennings has crafted a melodic and rhythmic composition that relentlessly drives the piece forward and intensifies the emotional output. It adds depth to the cinematic elements, as does the slick lighting design. Light and colour have been injected into the industrial-looking Union Theatre elevating this production and assisting in the clarity of Ayiotis’s various characters and settings. Thankfully the blend of creative choices amplifies the story instead of becoming a distraction - a testament to the team.
At 75 minutes, this is not an overly long play, but there is scope to trim some excess, particularly in the final third. Not helped by the Union Theatre’s painfully uncomfortable seating, the piece could do with reaching its final conclusion and a distinct parting message a little sooner. Despite this, the team at Bedivere Arts have constructed something special. With a knock-out performance from Michael Ayiotis, inventive and resourceful work from Jack Fairey and a crack design team, The Sun, The Mountain, and Me is surely destined for a further life and deserves to be seen by audiences across the country.
It runs until 6 August - Tickets
Photos: Alex Harvey-Brown