📍 Barons Court Theatre, 28a Comeragh Road, London, W14 9HR
🗓 Tuesday 17th January 2023
A MYSTICAL JOURNEY INTO A FORGOTTEN CORNISH COMMUNITY
It was a privilege once again to be at Barons Court Theatre last night. It's no secret that this is fast becoming one of my favourite London venues. It's intimate so you feel a part of the action, which I love, and I have seen some great productions in this venue. Last night was the opening of Barons Court Theatre's winter season of shows, which is kicking off with Morveren.
Morveren is an interesting story which follows a mystical theme throughout as well as family bonds, chasing goals and painful memories.
Keren is on a work trip, scoping out potential opportunities in a rural Cornish village, and takes her daughter Ellie along with her. Ellie is obsessed with the story of The Little Mermaid and comes equipped with plush toy and backpack! She loves to swim but living in Manchester means she has never seen the sea, so Keren reluctantly takes her along.
We learn that this village is actually Keren's hometown, although the business suit and the way she speaks in received pronunciation would suggest otherwise. Keren has run away from this place because of painful memories of losing her parents and is only back now as she is trying to get partner in her firm, and this project is too important.
Ellie has an accident and Morwen comes to her rescue. Morwen turns out to be Keren's grandmother and Ellie's great-grandmother, although her and Ellie have never met.
Morwen is the village matriarch and all she wants to do is preserve and protect the place she loves and calls home. The village is so remote that it's not even on Google maps!
The story follows the almost mystical bonding between Ellie and Morwen as they share a love for the sea and we see a gentle thawing of the harsh exterier of Keren as the story develops.
I have to say that the acting in this piece was exceptional. Charlotte Blandford as Keren especially stood out for me with her sublime performance. Her character goes on the biggest journey and you believed every word she said and every emotion she portrayed. At one point she had tears running down her face. I enjoyed the way that being back in her old community, her Cornish accent reappeared.
Alessandra Perotto as Morwen was believable and likeable. Her accent was spot on and never dropped once. When she was telling her stories it was really as if her character was a real person and she handled the story of her illness with sensitivity.
Aysha Niwaz as Ellie had a wonderful childlike quality which was refreshing and never once felt fake. She also had an unfaltering accent, although hers was northern!
The story itself though for me was a slight let down. It had some really good and engaging parts, but also some scenes felt a bit too long and unnecessary. I felt that each act could have been about 10 or 15 minutes shorter, and the show would have still delivered its message. I found myself really enjoying it and then all of a sudden it seemed to slow down and almost become a bit tedious.
Overall though, it is a show that I would not hesitate in recommending to someone. As I said before, the standard of acting was phenomenal and the three actors deserve high praise indeed.
Morveren is playing at Barons Court Theatre until Sunday 29th January. Head to www.baronscourttheatre.com to check availability and book tickets.
All views are my own and I pride myself on being open and honest.
My tickets for this performance were gifted by the Marvellous Machine Theatre Company who invited me to the Press Night to review the production.