They Don’t Pay, We Won’t Pay!

Hi everyone, and welcome to another review!

This show, that I am going to talk about was on my radar even before I got invited by The Mercury Theatre to go and see this. I am also hoping to go and watch this again soon, so that should give you a smaller insight into what I think of the show but please do read the rest of what I think! As hopefully some of it will be helpful if you wanted to see this yourself. I also need to say as always a huge thank you to The Mercury Theatre for their kind invitation and for giving me the opportunity.

‘They Don’t Pay, We Don’t Pay’ is Produced by Tracey Childs, and directed by Ryan McBryde. Both have bought us amazing shows in the past so I am always hopeful when I see these names in the programme! The show tells to story of local people who have had enough of the ‘Cost Of Living Crisis’ currently happening in the UK and tells the story of local people just paying what they can for the food they take, or not paying at all. The storyline follows the couple Anthea played by Laura Doddington and Jack played by Joseph Alessi as they try to figure out what they doing to do about all the food and energy bills going up, but when Anthea comes home with all this shipping, and she starts telling these web of stories to try and get them out of the current situation that she has landed them in. That night turns into the most action-packed they have ever had!

Photo shows Jack, Lewis and the police sergeant running towards the police tape like its the end of the race.

The show was very current to the time and conveyed well what it can be like for people living below the breadline and just about making ends meet. But at the same time, there are heaps and heaps of comedy throughout the whole show. Sometimes I could tell whether or not something was meant to happen or not, or if something went wrong! All of the sets were bright and colourful, along with the characters’ costumes. This was a massive help, as Anthea wore a pick hoodie/jumper, Jack wore overalls for his work, and Maggie played by Tesni Kujore Anthea’s close friend wore a flowery dress. It was really easy to tell who was who at the right time. Even though all the cast did such an amazing job, I have to shout out Marc Pickering who played several supporting characters, all very similar and this was an amazing use of comedy as the other characters would reference this at times which only added to the hilarious comedy.

This show has to be the most accessible show I have seen so far this year! I mentioned the use of colour and costumes above, but all the comedy was verbal with little sprinkles of physical comedy but they were described by the actors! When going to shows, I have sometimes felt a little left out because of a certain scene, but this is rare. But I have to say, this is the first show in quite some time that not once did I ever feel this! Everything was clear and easy to follow, even though there was one darkness scene it was described to the audience from start to finish! I have to say a big thank you to the writing and production teams! As it was you that make this show accessible, and it is clear to see that you thought about your audiences, including those with Sight Loss!

Photo shows Jack and Lewis holding sacks of rice. with lewis talking to Jack with Jack having a worried look on his face.

I cannot think of higher praise than this. I plan on coming back to watch this show again. I just need to find a date that works! 

Talking of Accessible performances, there are available: A Audio Description performance is available with a Touch Tour before the show on Thursday 30th March at 2.30 pm. Prices range from £15 – £30, but also accessible and carer tickets are available. 

‘They Don’t Pay, We Don’t Pay’ is at The Mercury Theatre from 17th – 31st March 2023! Tickets can be found on The Mercury Theatre website! Get your tickets whilst you can! You don’t want to miss out on this!

Until Next Time,

The VI Critic

Manjeet Mann’s ‘Run Rebel’

Yesterday I was kindly invited by The Mercury Theatre in Colchester to see Run Rebel.

I opted to go to the matinee performance which I felt turned out to be a good decision as the atmosphere seemed more relaxed and informal. There were two schools in the auditorium which was a little distracting for me but in some scenes really added to the emotion of the performance with all of their reactions. This was highly welcomed and I felt was a nice change.

Run Rebel is produced by the same company that also put on the show Noughts & Crosses, which has seen numerous awards since. I was somewhat excited to see this after enjoying their previous show, and I wasn’t disappointed.

shows a picture of the stage before the show, and the view from my seat.

The show tells the story of Amber, a teenager who feels trapped on one side by her family and the expectations of her father and on the other by her love for running and her dream of one day representing her country. There is tension as her father feels she should give up on her dream and follow the traditions of the household but the love of running and the will to follow her dreams is too strong a siren’s call for Amber to resist. Within this show is a strong use of Amber’s mental health and also of her family life, with everyone scared of her father due to domestic violence.

But once Amber learns about the French Revolution in her history lesson, she encourages her family to revolt against her drunken father.

This is very much a welcome change for me, as these are subjects aren’t spoken about enough in todays modern world, especially by teenagers. It was great to see school children at this show, and I really hope they took something from it.

The cast were brilliant, I could really feel the emotions from all of them incredibly well. Jessica Kaur did a fantastic job playing the character of Amber, along with narrating the story to the audience. The chemistry behind all the cast was palpable, especially between Pushpinder Chani who played Amber’s father and Jessica Kaur as Amber. During their scenes together, I truly felt like they were indeed father and daughter. This really made me feel I was watching professionals at work!

On to the accessibility; the main issue was a strong use of harsh or minimal lighting. Most of the performance it was either one or the other, which on occasion made it very difficult to fully see what was happening. At times when Amber was talking to the audience she was lit by a spot light so she was easy to see but there were other scenes where the characters were washed out by the lights, so it was a little difficult to see. Also in a number of scenes especially when Amber was at home with her family, the stage would be very dark so I found it difficult to see what was happening.

As I was in row E this time, if I were to go and see the show again I would pick either row D or ideally C, as they are much closer so I would be able to see much more.

photo shows Amber and other class mates all wearing colourful clothing all standing in a line preparing for a race.

On the plus side however, the use of action scenes was low. Most were just some of the actors running up and down the stage or running on the spot, but with the spoken dialogue filling in the exposition. This is a great addition as then you really aren’t missing out on anything for about ninety percent of the show. The only scene you do miss out on is the more physical/fight scene towards the end as that isn’t really described in detail, but I feel like I can forgive them for that.

 As a result, the story flowed really nicely and I was able to understand what was going on really well, and missed very little. My own tiny gripe is that I don’t think microphones were used during this performance? This would have been helpful in certain places, as I found that in some of the scenes I struggled to fully understand what some of the cast were saying. So maybe in future shows this is something that could be added?

There are no access shows unfortunately according the Mercury’s website. I would assume this is due to Run Rebel having a short run at The Mercury. However as this show is going on tour around the UK, hopefully if they have longer runs at other theatres this is something that can be added in the future.

photo shows amber and her dancing laughing, dancing, and bumping hips to some music.

Finally then overall, I feel it really doesn’t matter if you are a blind or visually impaired theatre-goer as I think you are going to get something out of this show, whether you are young or old. As I said, Run Rebel is touring so go grab yourselves a ticket!

I think this is an important production as there is so much merit in the huge amounts of discussion on mental health, as well as the scenes of domestic abuse and violence.

A ‘Content To Consider’ document has been created should you feel that the show may possibly be triggering for you so if you are interested and would like to know more, I will link it for you below.

Visit The Mercury Theatre’s website to find information on tickets and more!

Run Rebel is running at The Mercury Theatre from Thursday 2nd March until Saturday 4th March 2023, but is on tour at the follow dates and venues:

York Theatre Royal: 7th – 11th March

Derby Theatre: 14th – 18th March

Belgrade Theatre Coventry: 21st – 25th March 

Alnwick Playhouse: 28th – 31st March

Until Next Time, 

The VI Critic

‘Charlie & Stan’ At The Mercury Theatre!

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! 

Photo shows a photo of the set before the show. A makeshift boat made of wood planks, with two stories, with the stairs on on the left hand side.

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 

Photo shows the adverting poser for Charlie & Stan, with both characters in the sea sitting on a water barrel, with charlie holding a umbrella above thier heads.

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