In The Shadow of the Mountain stays at the Old Red Lion until Saturday 2 June 2018, book tickets here: www.oldredliontheatre.co.uk/in-the-shadow-of-the-mountain.html
Star rating: ****
Guest Review by Francesca Mepham
From the outset of Felicity Huxley-Miners new play In The Shadow Of The Mountain, Rob (David Shears) may be on the edge of oblivion, ready to throw himself under a train, but he certainly gets swept up on an unexpected journey, when he meets Ellie (Felicity Huxley-Miners).
The chemistry between the two characters, is very authentic, it makes you care for these two polar opposites. Ellie is magnetic and witty, but her erratic behaviour starts to unravel in front of the audiences eyes and Rob is dryly funny and caring, but lost, after a recent betrayal. Ellie’s BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder), that is never labelled in this play, is what makes her want to move this relationship along at an alarming fast pace. Her pleading to Rob that she “..wants to be saved” was so incredibly poignant and seem to summarise Ellie’s whole being.
Both performances are spot on, with excellent direction by Richard Elson, who gets the balance between both characters expressing their fears and bewilderment (especially with Shear’s Rob), in a thought-provoking way. The actors commanded the stage throughout, keeping the energy consistent and the story flowing. The taunts and emotional manipulation of Rob, by Ellie, are conveyed very convincingly by Huxley-Miners.
Meticulous research in to BPD is evident, as the balance between humour and poignancy, is very intricate. Nearer to the play’s conclusion, the full extent of Ellie’s condition is handled by cast and director, with a heart-wrenching honesty. In The Shadow Of The Mountain, shows the reality of mental health, on a person’s life and relationships.
Fundamentally this new play is about a couple, conceived in two people’s mental health struggles with BPD and depression, but it is also about what it means to be human and all its fragilities. I look forward to seeing more work produced by Instinct Theatre and Quantum Frolic Theatre, as this outstanding debut collaboration, is a beautifully written and acted piece of theatre.