So here we are with the first theatre review of the year! As always I was kindly invited to this performance of ‘Charlie & Stan’ by The Mercury Theatre in Colchester!
So I will be honest and say that when i got the invite for this performance, I was a little worried when the email said that the story was told using physical comedy and no words, but since seeing the show, I’m not as worried now writing this as certain things have been put in place to help blind and visually impaired people which I will go into a little later on, but first the show itself.
The show tells the story of Charlie Chaplin and Stanley Laurel and their trip towards America. Charlie Chaplin rose to fame in 1888 in which the medium of ‘silent film’ was a the height of is popularity, to which there would be little sound only music, with the odd title card here and there that would appear on screen, describing a scene or telling the audience what the characters were saying. During these films Charlie Chaplin would make audiences laugh with his large array of physical comedy.
Stanley Laurel or Jefferson when he was called by his real name was well known to generations he was part of the ‘Laurel & Hardy’ double act. Even I watched them a little when I was a kid.
The show tells the story of how they both become known and started to get a name for themselves and how they almost worked together. The show was very much entertaining and good and fun night out! With a few elements of audience participation. As I was sat on row D I was able to see the show quite well, due to the amount lights on stage, with one darker scene but it didn’t last very long. The show itself was really fun and enjoyable to watch, the over expression of all the actors especially Nick Haverson and Jerone Marsh-Reid really made the whole performance and the format of silent film come to life!
Coming out of the show, I was a little concerned about writing this review, as at the time, I felt like I would be unable to recommend to show to anyone with a visual disability. However that has since changed! I have since discovered that on the shows webpage of the Mercury website, there is an audio recording that is nine minutes long, and describes the show in great detail! This is something that I can but only applaud! It would be great if all future shows had this feature as it will only add the accessibility of all Mercury Theatre future shows! The audio recording goes into deep detail about the show: how many actors there are, describing each actors costumes, what the characters look like, how tall they are etcetera. This is a very much welcome change to the website. I wish I only had access to it before the performance!
There is also a Audio Description performance for this show, as well as a touch tour, which the audio recording tells you about and the details, I will link it here: if you are using a screen reader is under the heading ‘accessibility’ which is roughly half way down the webpage.
In terms of accessibility this is the best I have seen to date, and I really hope this format continues in the future. In light of all this, I can do nothing but thoroughly recommend this whole heartedly. It’s a really good and fun night out, that will have you in balls of laughter from beginning to end!
‘Stan & Charlie’ is running at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester from 8th – 11th February 2023! Full details you can find by clicking the link here!
Until Next Time!
The VI Critic