Cage Warriors – 138 at Charter Hall Colchester

Hi all,

So today I’m going to review and talk about something that didn’t think I’d ever go to! Along with Em from InvincibleWomanOnWheels! She kindly invited me to a Cage Warriors event. Em goes to these events all the time all over the county so if the UFC and MMA fighting is your thing then you need to check her out for sure! Not to mention she is just awesome!! 😀

So heading into this, I wasn’t sure this was going to be something I was going to enjoy, but boy I was wrong! It all started when we arrived about ten or so minutes before ‘the doors opened’. Em had said that the first fight wasn’t until 8.30 pm. So I asked why we had arrived so early! I found out seconds later as the queue was massive!! So we only had to wait a few minutes to get in. Once we got to the door we got searched by the security team of the event! They went through my pockets as well as the body search. So my advice would be to take only take essentials with you! I didn’t take my white cane as I wasn’t sure how they would react to it. So I left it behind and Em kindly helped me and guide me if I needed it. But I warned you are thoroughly searched. But that’s always a good thing!

Once we got into the venue and walked into the hall the music was very, very loud and was throughout the night. If loud music and noise aren’t your thing. You might have to bare this in mind. Due to the type of event (MMA fighting), there are a lot of flashing lights! So if like me you are light sensitive, again this is worth bearing in mind. The staff could have not been more helpful though so if you are unsure then you can always ask.

photo shows a photo of the cage warriors fighting game, with white lights flashing around. Gage warriors branding is all around the sides and above the cage with screens all around the room.

We got very lucky with the amazing view we got! So I was able to see always everything that was going on in the ring. Although there were times when I couldn’t see what was going on when the fighters were fighting on the mat. But there are screens around the venue. Which lucky enough wasn’t too far from us either so I was in luck. It’s worth saying though, these screens were not the biggest. So if you’re far away from the ring and are relying on the screen. Some people might struggle. If you have some Low Vision I would strongly suggest you pay a little extra and buy closer seats if you can.

This was such a fun night. I’ve watched some UFC before now on TV and I’ve very really gotten into it. However, it was completely different going to a live event! All the fights were such fun to watch and I was getting intense willing some of the fighters to win! After one of the fights, the winning fighter threw his mouthguard at someone in the crowd! But it landed in my lap!! Didn’t quite not what to do! But the fighter’s partner was in front of me, and asked for it! So I gave it to her! That’s gonna stay with me for a while for sure!

Image: A selfie of me and Em before the start of the show! With a crowd of seats behind us!

For sure this was one of the best nights I’ve had in a while! Hopefully, I will be going to another event with Em again in July! I would strongly recommend that if you haven’t experienced a live MMA event, do it!! You wouldn’t be disappointed! The only thing I will say is that if you have limited to no vision at all. There is no commentary fed through the arena that’s only for the tv/online broadcast so that’s something you need to know if you rely on things like commentary in sports!

Again I thoroughly had an amazing time!! I even bought some merch (photo above)! This is one of those times when the universe says to try something and go to an event that you would normally never go to! You just never know how you will find it! Plus it’s even better when you go with friends!

As a visually impaired person, I would recommend that maybe cage warriors offer a form of in-arena commentary for blind and visually impaired fans. This can be done in several ways either a headset that can be handed out before the start of the show. Or an app so then the person can use their own smartphone and headphones at the event. That way this adds more of an immersive and an accessible experience for all fans!

Please do go along and check out Em’s event review to get her views and perspective as someone in a wheelchair! Go check her out she’s awesome!!

Since going to this amazing I have gone to others in this last year, and will continue to go to more events this year with Em! So would this be something you would like to see more? Let me know!

Last, all that is left to say is I hope you all have a wonderful and happy new year! There will be yet more theatre and other reviews of some of the things I get up to this year! But…

Until Next Time!

The VI Critic

The Mercury Theatre Pantomime 2022 – ‘Beauty & The Beast

Hi Everyone, and welcome to what probably will be my last review of the year! It’s almost Christmas so that can only mean one thing… it’s Panto Season! My favourite time of the year!

This year I went and got the chance to see ‘Beauty And The Beast at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester! As I have said in all years previous this show once again didn’t disappoint in the slightest, and like always when watching the Mercury Pantomime I had a wonderful time. But there are some key moments that I thought I might mention.

Firstly, Beauty and The Beast isn’t something I would normally think of when I think of pantomime, so I was interested in what direction they would take the story and what changes they would make to the story. One of the first things I noticed, was that there was not a beast straight away, but a nice-looking prince that Bell had already met earlier on in the show, but if it wasn’t for the evil witch, just trying to cause trouble he was turned into the beast.

Photo shows both and the best dancing in the dining hall, bell is wearing a dark purple ball dress, and the best a bear like creature with horns on his head is wearing a while shirt in blue and grey trousers with masssive brown hooves.

I must say a huge well done to Daniel Jagusz-Holley who played the beast because the skill he showed in walking on stilts for eighty per cent of the show not to mention dance in some parts is some art and looked like a lot of hard work to pull off must be congratulated!

It isn’t a Mercury Theatre Pantomime review without mentioning to comedy duo that is Anthony-Stuart-Hicks and Dale Suerpville, because quite frankly it would be the same without them! Both Anthony and Dale had the audience howling with laughter from the moment they step on stage and through the show! I strongly believe that Mercury’s Panto would be not as successful and popular if they both were no longer in it! I always look with bated breath looking at the vast list every year and worried that the year before will be their last, but they keep coming back making the audiences’ night and for some their whole month. After the year we have had this year, we need you both more than ever to make us all laugh, I hope you will continue and keep coming back for years to come!

Betty Bon Bon (panto dame) is speaking to the audience wearing a bright pink dress with wig and same gloves the same colour with a dress of a net and ball balls
Dale Superville is wearing a multicoloured suit like costume with a multicoloured hat point and talking to another character on stage.

I love that, the whole show had a lovely underlining message of it should matter whether someone is different or not, it should matter, it only matters what person they are and as someone who is visually impaired, it is so important that more and more shows have this underling message to children and young people. So hopefully in the future thing will be different for all people!

Onto the accessibility then: There is an Audio Described performance and Touch tour available on 7th January 2023 at 2.30 pm! But if someone reason you can’t get tickets, then I believe that most people should be okay. If you have some useful vision, then sitting in row A-D you will have a very good view of all things going on. There are some scenes that are further back on the stage which some people may struggle with but for ninety per cent of the show, you should be okay. If you are light-sensitive some scenes have strobe and flashing lights, so that is something to bare in mind, but it isn’t on for very long!

If you have limited to no vision, then even without Audio Description I think you should be fine! Most of the jokes and jags are verbal and there are very few physical jags, with one exception of a small yellow worm-like creature flying abound the stage for one scene, but if you decided to take a sighted person with you, then you will have no problems at all. You will still have just as much fun as everyone else!

Beauty And The Beast is running at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester from 24th November 2022 until 15th January 2023! I was told last night that they have already sold ninety per cent fo ALL tickets for the whole run! So get in there quick if you haven’t got yours already!

All that is left is for me to say, I hope you all have a Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!

Until Next Year!

The VI Critic!

Title card of ‘Beauty and the beast’ in gold glittering letter with a silhouette of bell and the nest dancing in background behind them a Stainglass window of a rose behind them!

Tommy Campe’s ‘Bring Back Chainmail!’

Hi Everyone, and welcome back to another review! This time it is for something a little different but great and brilliant all the same.

I got the chance to go and see ‘Bring Back ChainMail’ at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester, and for those of you who don’t fancy a long read at the moment then it was one of the best things I have seen this year!

For those of you who fancy a long read, here it goes: Written, and starring Tommy Campe, comes the story of James, a normal teenager, who has an obsession and fascination with the medieval period. So much so that he has turned his bedroom into a medieval kingdom of his own. With help of his loyal friend Sophie or Bard as she is known to him played brilliantly by Megan Risley, he can bring his fantasy world to life!

James (Tommy Campe) is sitting cross legged on the floor wearing a blue medieval garment, playing the ukulele.

But there is a whole other reason why this kingdom exists, downstairs, James’ dad has to come to terms with the loss of his wife and James’ mother due to a terminal illness. Due to this, they are both further apart as a father and son can be. But through this play, they become closer as a family, thanks to James’ dad embracing his son’s magical world!

This show deals with the subject of death and grief and what it can do to the people left behind, and it captures all this beautifully. It has a lovely neutral progression, but can understandably be triggering for some.

This show is also in collaboration with Autism Anglican and I feel this show delivers a great representation of how someone with Autism might deal with the loss of a loved one, but also how loved ones around them can love and support them.

Bard (Megan Risley) is wearing a very colourful court jester outlet whilst smiling juggling some colourful juggling balls.

I went to a ‘relaxed performance’ of this show, where people were able to come and go as they pleased if they ever needed to, and people did, but this didn’t take anything away from the show, and was lovely to see a chill out area outside the studio with chairs and water should people need it, which was excellent to see. You could that they thought about people with autism and other disabilities.

I strongly believe that this show needs another national-wide run as well as schools, and maybe for those who struggle to get to the theatre, later on down the line, with maybe some more financial backing it would help make ‘Bring Back Chainmail’ bigger and better than it already is, and give it the springboard it truly deserves!

I am not sure, if or when this will happen, but it needs to so that more and more people experience the joy and spectacular of this marvellous show!

Until Next time!
The VI Critic

The Poster of ‘bring back chainmail’ with james, ina knights outfit holding a sword, his dad wearing a medieval king outfit and Sophie in her jesters outfit with a blue and orange background.

Illusion Impossible

Hi Everyone, and welcome to another review. Todays review is something very different and not what id ever thought I would do a review on but here we are.

Recently I went to see the one night show of ‘Illusion Impossible’ at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester. In their first UK tour since 2019, comes a really entertaining show, so much fun for any age.

Staring international star and world renowned illusionist Kayden Black, along with Oliver Tabor. With special guests magician Micheal Carr and “TV Legend” Wayne Dobson. Comes and engaging and entertaining show, full of comedy and laughter for all the family!


I was kindly gifted these tickets as part of the press night, but the show is on a UK tour so for more information on tickets, you can check out the ‘Illusion Impossible’ website by clicking here.


I have to say on this occasion the seat seating was far from ideal, as I was sat in N15 which was three rows from the back of the theatre. This made in very difficult to see fifty percent of the show. When I came to big illusion tricks I was able to see most of what was going on on stage, but sadly when it came to the audience participation and the slight of hand tricks I saw very little which was a big disappointment. As I feel like I miss out on half of the show.


This is largely going to depend on you as a individual and the amount of vision that you have. If you have some useful vision and you can get a seat which is close enough to the stage then I would say that yes, definitely give this show a visit you will have a lot of fun and enjoyment. If however, you have limited to no vision. Then I sorry to say, I would give this show I pass. Eighty percent of the show is all visual. Micheal Carr would come onto the stage and do a trick with the audience with some really fun jokes and comedy which were absolutely brilliant and so their for I can’t fault him at all. However the rest of the show and magicians do no speak whilst they are performance. So their act is one hundred percent visual. There is also no audio description which I didn’t expect as they only do one show per night per venue so there just isn’t the time to accommodate it unfortunately.


Overall, I really enjoyed the show and had a really fun evening with really good entertainment. If you have a family and fancy a great night out then I would highly recommend giving this shot, you would be disappointment. But if you are totally blind and have no vision at all. Then maybe keep an eye out and see what I review next!

Until Next Time,

The VI Critic

Photo shows various images of the show, with the names Kayden Black, The Glamourists, and Oliver Tabor with special guests. With the title of illusion impossible in big silver letters.

Mischief Production’s ‘Good Luck Studio’

Hi Everyone,

I recently got the chance to see ‘Good Luck Studio’ by Mischief Productions, behind the comedy shows ‘The Show Goes Wrong’ and ‘Peter Pan Goes Wrong’ on the BBC. I wanted to see one of their shows live, and last night I got the chance so was excited! 

Ticket & Venue

I was kindly invited to The Mercury Theatre in Colchester for their press night of this show, and so was gifted the tickets for this show! Tickets range from £15 to £25, it is completely worth the money. A disabled ticket can also include a companion ticket should one be required. 


For this performance, I was offered seats in row D which are always an excellent view for anyone who is visually impaired as you are very close to the stage and was able to see everything going on from start to finish comfortably, with no eye strain whatsoever. So if you can get this row when booking your seats will have no problem here at all. 

Photo shows seating view of a cartoon setting with a castle, tree, and wall. with a backdrop of clouds and oranges. Surrounded by a tv like studio.

The Show

As I had seen this company’s production of other shows on tv, I went in with hopes being very high and they did not disappoint! The show had a dark theme, but also lots of laughter and comedy and I had a really good balance of both. You felt like you had a connection with each character and the audience felt for each of them as they were going through their struggles. The show had a real professional feel throughout which is something that I had expected coming from the company’s previous reputation. 

I can’t fault any of the cast at all, they really did put everything they had into their own performances and the passion bled from them during the whole show. A truly great performance done by all!  

shows princess pineapple in a yellow and orange pineapple dress. talking to a puppeteer holding a frog puppet.
Photo by Pamela Raith


I need to start by saying that there is a content warning for this show including gunshots, a bomb threat and mock acts of terrorism. So that is something you need to bear in mind when considering booking tickets. There were multiple gunshots throughout the show, a few of them were in scenes and some were slightly muffled but it is there. For me personally, I think there were maybe too many gunshots, but at the same time some added to the plot, so I would say use your own judgement on this.

There was a great use of colour and lighting in certain scenes which were really helpful. There weren’t any dark moments which was a nice addition. The only dark moment came at the end of the first act, but that is expected. There were a lot of really bright colours as the mock tv show was a show for children so was easy to see who was who. There is a point where two different characters are wearing the same costume so I had to rely on the actors’ voices but that was only a handful of times.

shows 'Andy' (Adam Byron) wearing a bright green with purple dots dragon body custom, holding a yellow script.
Photo by Pamela Raith

There is an Audio Description performance available, if you have limited to no vision I would strongly encourage you to have the AD headset as there are a few visual jokes and tags throughout the show inducing one whole scene that is entirely visual. So take the option if you can. There is also a ‘touch tour’ available should you want that access too. The Audio Description and Touch Tour performance are on the 15th of October at 2.30 pm. 


In conclusion, I thoroughly recommend this show to adults and older teenagers. A really enjoyable night out, a great laugh with all emotions in one show! I highly recommend it for sure! ‘Good Luck Studio’ is running at The Mercury Theatre from 6th – 16th October 2022. Then running to other theatres in the UK. You can find tickets at The Mercury Theatre by clicking here, or the Good Luck Studio website here! 

Until Next Time,

The VI Critic!

a full shot of the whole set with the dragon dancing and jumping also with princess pineapple with bright lights all around them.
Photo by Pamela Raith

Colchester Operatic Society’s ‘Fame!’

Hi Everyone,

Back again with another review. This time the show was put on by a local drama society in Colchester! If you would like to know more, and maybe even get involved then you can find their website here. Go and check it out! 

Ticketing & Venue

So I was kindly given the tickets by The Mercury Theatre in Colchester! They were incredibly helpful! There is a wide range of ticket options available. You can choose either: a disabled person ticket, or a visually impaired ticket, or if you have an assistance dog, there is also an assistance dog ticket. There is a companion ticket option at £1.50 that can be added with any of those tickets. 

They are very geared up to helping people with all disabilities, not just blind or visually impaired people! All staff are able to offer sighted guided assistance should you require it! If you also have a Guide Dog then the front-of-house staff, are very accommodating and will happily look after your Guide Dog during the performance. If however, you would like your to be with you during the performance then that is something you can also do easily! 


So in terms of seating, you are able to book any seat within the auditorium that you require. At this particular performance, I was given seats H 21 and H22. For me, this proved to be a little tricky when it came to certain darker scenes as I was unable to fully make out who was who. I was somehow able to do this due to do this as these scenes being in the second half of the show I knew which character was speaking as I had worked out which character was who due to their voice! If I had to recommend a certain row I would recommend row D if you have Low Vision, as this is close enough where you are still able at least I am able to see the performers’ facial expressions. Which is something I like to do, but you might be different. But if you have No Vision then anywhere in the auditorium you will have the same experience. 

The Show

Overall, the show was very good, You have to consider that all the actors in the show are not professional. But considering this, some of the cast had amazing singing voices! Sadly I am unable to mention certain cast members by name as on my particular evening the programmes were sadly not delivered in time, and at the time of writing this review, there is no cast list on the Mercury website. But you all really were amazing and you all should be really proud of yourselves! 

Throughout the show, there were some technical difficulties with microphones and such so was a little difficult to hear what some of the cast were saying at times, but this was opening night so I think we can forgive them for the odd teething problems! 


In terms of accessibility for blind and visually impaired people sadly, it is very limited. Unfortunately, there is no Audio Description which I feel these days is a must and should be at least one per show that comes in. But looking at the website there doesn’t seem to be an Audio Described performance, hopefully, this is something that the Colchester Operatic Society can look to change for future performances, as this is disappointing to see. However, there are two captioned performances available. So check out The Mercury Theatre’s website for more details, click here to find out more!


This was a really fun show to watch, you called tell that all the company thoroughly enjoyed their time on stage and you could really feel the passion they all had for performing, I think some could really go far if they kept at it! The show is running from 10th – 18th September multiple shows a day so this is definitely a watch if you would like to see some up-and-coming talented and you could say you saw them first! 

Until Next Time!

The VI Critic

Mercury Theatre’s ‘Alice In Wonderland’

Hi all and welcome to another review! This time it’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester!

Adapted by Mike Kenny from the classic book by Lewis Carroll comes the classic children’s take, but with a slight twist! Alice is a modern school girl about to her final exams, but something goes wrong and she ends up in Wonderland, with all the characters that you come to expect!

There was a mixture of live music, comedy, dancing and laughter! The show had a nice modern spin on the tale which is brilliant for today’s audiences, but it also catered for older audiences too who are very familiar with the classic story. There was a great use of both costume and props throughout. Alice was in the same outfit throughout the show, so was easy to distinguish her from the other characters. There was also a great contrast between what was going on stage compared with the background, so was very clear and easy to follow. I loved the interactions with the audience, and the characters going through the auidence are various points and talking and talking to them. It gave an up close and personal look at the individual costumes of almost all the cast, which is something I always love and enjoy! 

All the characters had bright and colourful costumes so was easy to pick out who was who from a crowd scene. All of the cast were amazing and you could tell they thoroughly enjoyed their roles and acting with the rest of the cast! Sadly the original Alice came out with Covid before the show was due to open. So Beth Mabin stepped into the role with as little as three days’ notice, and what an amazing job she did! Even though the audience was told this before the show started, you would not think that this was the case at all. Beth did an outstanding job, as well as did the rest of the cast. 

Having been to a number of shows at The Mercury now where the cast has also played live music to the songs of the show, and once again this did not disappoint! This made the show more fun and enjoyable to watch! The use of set design was as usual at The Mercury on point. I have Low Vision and everything was clear and recognisable with great use of colour and contrast. The songs were easy to sing along to, proof of this came when at the interval, a number of the audience were still singing the song of the final number for act one. 

I felt like the final act was a little short, and would have been nice if they added on an extra ten or twenty minutes, but I also understand that this is also aimed at children as well as adults too. So for that reason was the right amount of length. 

Overall, I would highly recommend this show for all the family this summer! There is an Audio Description performance on Thursday 11th August at 2.30 pm with a Touch Tour available also at 1 pm on the same day. Although tickets are selling very quickly for all performances of the whole run, so get in quick! 

‘Alice In Wonderland’s running at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester from Thursday 4th August until Thursday 14th August 2022. You can find the Mercury’s website. there to find tickets and all about their accessibility options and performances by clicking here.

People With Low Vision: I think you will have a great time here, there’s not a lot you won’t miss! There is the odd visual jag here and there that you may miss, but you are not at all missing out on the story or the plot.

People With No Vision: Story-wise you will not miss out, as there are little to no visual story elements. However, there is the odd visual representation of the story and plot you will miss if you do not have Audio Description or a sighted companion going with you. So either one of these things is a must. But if you know the story well beforehand then you should be fine. but this being an adoption there is the odd change to the story, that you might be familiar with. 

Until Next Time,

The VI Critic

photo shows a green garden with a hedge, with two legs in blue and white stripped socking in converse shoes with a pocket watch, and a bottle which asa label that says 'drink me' on it. With big words in red that say; Alice In Wonderland'
Photo By: Pamela Raith

Jim Cartwright’s ‘The Rise & Fall Of Little Voice!’

Hi Everyone,

I’m back with another theatre review! I recently got to go and see ‘The Rise & Fall Of Little Voice!’ A play that is currently touring the UK this year, but I got the chance to see it at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester!

The show by Jim Cartwright tells the story of a shy young girl who, after her father’s sudden death. Does nothing but stay in her family home, looking after her drunken, men-obsessed mother, as well as keeping the home into some sort of order by listening to her old father’s recorders that he had left to her after he died. 

After her mother starts seeing this talent agent Ray Say, it is discovered that Little Voice or ‘LV’ as she’s known to everyone has a talent for doing impressions of famous signers and divas of the past, along with being a really good singer. After LV is pushed into performing at a local club night after night, her mental health starts to decline and the deserter starts to rear its ugly head. 

Little Voice (Christina Bianco) is on stage in a while sparkly dress holding a microphone singing at full volume.

The acting by Shobna Gulati (Mari) and Ian Kelsey (Ray Say) was outstanding, you could tell that their relationship was starting to turn and things like money, power and social status becoming more important to them than their feelings for each other. Christina Bianco has a real talent for singing and doing impressions of other singers, to do both at the same time was an absolute joy to watch and listen to. I could easily go to and watch an evening with her alone! Brilliant performances! Her acting was great too. To be able to switch from a singing and joyous performance to a quiet and very recluse character, then gradually sink into deep and dark despair was sad but amazing to watch. I could not help to feel for the LV character and what she had become. 

There was a great side plot between LV and Billy (Askhay Gulati) a phone line installer and repair man throughout the main plot of the show. How Billy managed to get LV out of her shell and by the end of the show have a relationship of her own with him after all this character had been through was brilliant to see. 

With the house in the foreground everyone is standing outside listening is standing outside listening to little voice who is still in her bedroom singing to a record.

The show deals with a lot of dark tones, including grief, mental health and depression. It handles all of these delicately and gracefully, but also with the respect it deserves. You had a sense of how each character was feeling. and what they were going through down to the brilliant acting by all the cast. But I had a real connection with the LV character and what she must have been going through, and that for me is a sure sign of unbelievable acting!  

People With Low Vision: The set is large, with plenty to look at, my recommendation is to see as close as you feel comfortable to be able to see everything and all the little details, there is little use of brightly colour lights within the show, apart from the club scenes which as a glittering curtain, spotlights and show light bulbs around it.

People With No Vision: Overall the show is very easy to follow, with the odd scene here and there that does have some visual jags and jokes, that you may need to ask a companion for details. But overall easy to follow. Sadly there is no Audio Description performance, but on this occasion, you might be okay with not having one. 

‘The Rise & Fall Of Little Voice’ is running at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester from 21st – 25th June 2022 but is on tour through the UK, If you can manage to get tickets at The Mercury (for which you can find by clicking/tapping here. I’m sure you can find another theatre near you where this show will be playing. Details you can find on the show’s main site by clicking/tapping here! I thoroughly recommend you go and see this show! This is one not to be missed! 

Until Next Time!

The VI Critic  

The advertising poster for the show, a pink background all the main cast (Christina Bianco, Ian Kelsey & Shobna Gulati) With a shot of Little Voice sitting on the floor holding her records in a sweatshirt, jeans and trainers. With the title of "The Rise & Fall Of Little Voice By Jim Cartwright UK Tour 2022' in gold writing. with the o in voice as a music record.

William Shakespeare’s ‘A Comedy Of Errors’

Hi Everyone, and welcome back to another review!

I went to this show pretty sure in the knowledge that I knew what the show was going to be about. But boy! I was wrong, let me explain why:

So it has to be said that my knowledge of Shakespeare is very little. I did get the chance to go and see ‘Anthony & Cleopatra’ several years ago performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company. But honestly, apart from the plays I did in GCSE English; I have had very little experience of his work. So I didn’t even know that ‘A comedy Of Errors’ was one of his. So I was pleasantly surprised when the show started. 

A short synopsis of the play is as follows: A couple has two sets of twins, they are both quite well off in the world. Meanwhile, a lesser well of the couple has their own set of twin boys. They agree to sell their twin boys to the better couple as slaves. Whilst travelling both parents get separated from each other taking one of each twin with them. Unknown to each other they both end up in the same country not knowing they are related to each other. The whole show is set around the confusion of a Diamond necklace, that one of the twins had bought for his wife.

I thoroughly enjoyed the show, and some really good and funny comedy situations were added into the show to make it more enticing to a younger audience. must admit that I did struggle to follow along with the story of the show, this is because I can never understand Shakespearean language. However, I do not want to that anything away from the show at all I did have a very enjoyable night. 

Following along with the show access-wise: If you can understand the language that is used you will be fine, there are very few physical and visual gags, but if like me you don’t understand the language. Then you will have to heavily rely on the physical and visual elements of the show. 

In between each scene of the show, there were modern songs sung and played, by the band above the main stage which made the show a lot more enjoyable, because though I struggled I was still able to enjoy the amazing songs sung which I thoroughly enjoyed!

You could tell that all of the cast had so much fun performing this show from start to finish. It was easy the see the amount of strong passion they all had for each other their characters as well as the show as a whole. If you are strongly into your Shakespeare, this is for sure a must-see this year! 

There is both Audio Description and captioned performances available at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester! The show is running from Thursday 19th May 2022 until Saturday 28th May 2022! 

The only thing left for me to say is a Happy Birthday to The Mercury Theatre which is celebrating their 50th Anniversary this year!! Here’s to 50 more marvellous and exciting years!

Until Next Time!

The VI Critic!

A hotel lobby, with an upper balcony. Underneath, is a reception desk with sets of keys behind it. On both sides of the desk are two big sets of doors. Near the front of the stage are two small staircases, going on and off stage, all of the set. is coloured in gold and blue.

Mercury Theatre’s ‘Blackmail’

Hi all,

Here we are with the first theatre review for 2022! To kick things off with a bang, we have a murder!

Okay, not a real murder, I recently went to go and see ‘Blackmail’ at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester! This version is an adaption of the original play written in 1928 by Charles Bennett. Retold by acclaimed playwright Mark Ravenhill tells the story of Alice (Jessie Hills) a little shop girl and her not to be messed with Mother (Lucy Speed), who run a popular shop in Chelsea. Along with Alice’s fiance Harold a Metropolitan Policeman. One night something goes wrong and all their lives are turned upside down in the space of one night.

I have to say first that I thoroughly enjoyed this play! I am a real sucker for crime documentaries and shows so after reading up on the show when I got the invite I knew I was going to enjoy this show. But there are a few things that I would like to touch on here in this post that I thought made it an, even more, enjoyable experience. 

First was how realistic everything was. Thought the show the character would always like cigarettes with matches, pour cups of tea or glasses of water, cut slices of bread amount other things and this was done right. When they pour they poured the tea out of the teapot actual tea would pour out, when they turned on the tap you could hear and see water splashing into the sink! This is something I feel that shows just don’t do enough of. By performing shows in this way it makes them as accessible to the audience as possible. 

photo shows the huge two story set on stage with Alice's mother Ada (Lucy Speed) looking out the side door whilst Harold is standing in this police uniform contemplating in the small kitchen at the back of the shop.
Photo By: Pamela Raith

The use of lighting was excellent, you could see everything that was going on stage very clearly, there was some during the night scenes which were a little tricky to see, but that’s okay, as there were no major actions scenes so I didn’t feel like I was missing much. Even if you have no vision you wouldn’t miss out either as the show is mostly dialogue. My only suggestion would be is to have better contrast with the characters’ costumes between each other and the light, there were times when I struggled to pick out Alice because of the colour of her dress colour in some of the night scenes. But all of the actors’ voices are all different and unique to the character, so if you have no vision you will be able to remember who is who very easily, plus every character’s name is mentioned a good three or four times at least throughout the show, I can’t imagine it would be too much of a problem to keep track of what is going on if you have limited vision.

Photo shows Alice (Jessie Hills) and Ian Tracey (Patrick Walshe McBride) in the back kitchen having a heated confrontation, with Ian Tracey holding a bread knife in a threatening way, whilst keeping th door to the upstairs rooms shut.
Photo By: Pamela Raith

All of the cast were excellent, you could feel the emotion, stress and anxiety of all of them at various points, and you could tell that they all knew their charters very well and connected with them. It is a small cast of only four so trying to remember visually who’s who isn’t too difficult. Each character’s costume is unique to them so that will also help. 

As I said at the beginning, I thoroughly enjoy this show and would happily go and see this again, and a highly recommend you could and seat whilst you can. It has a very limited run at The Mercury Theatre from Thursday 10th March until 19th March 2022. Tickets for the show can be found by ticketing the link here. Hurry up and buy your tickets, you won’t want to miss out on this!

Until Next Time,

The VI Critic