REVIEW: Mugs’ Arrows, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough

Eddie Elks in Mugs' Arrows

Eddie Elks in Mugs' Arrows

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Hold on – it’s going to be a bumpy ride with twists and turns aplenty in this story of three lives which collide – with every bit of luggage – one night in a pub.

The play is set in a pub at least two decades behind the chrome and glass of theme bars the length and breadth of every town and city in the country.

It is 80 minutes of tense, nervous energy which not only teeters on the edge of madness but dives headlong into it.

Sue Wilkinson

And we’re in the pub, listening in as Pat and Ed discuss their mate Simon’s wedding over a game of darts.

And there’s a storm coming and it’s not just outside.

Enter Sarah, a city girl full of plans to change the pub run by her new husband’s family. Throw in the occasional karaoke classic and you have a strange night out.

The lives of all the characters turn out to have dark recesses were it is best not to linger – a feeling of doom pervades the whole play – there is not a lot of light or shade in this dark offering.

It is about lost opportunities, twisted and wasted lives and futures that don’t look bright.

There is, too, a ghostly, eerie pulse to the proceedings – a nightmare quality of horror stories.

I am not pretending I ‘got’ it all – in fact some of it was downright bizarre. Just when I thought I was following the dart to the bullseye it hit a wire and veered off the board. This is an edgy, challenging experience.

The cast of three were excellent throughout. The writer Eddie Elks is brilliant as the confused Ed; Rhys King is the middle-aged man in meltdown; and Polly Hughes is mesmerising as the bride. It is 80 minutes of tense, nervous energy which not only teeters on the edge of madness but dives headlong into it.

A slice of life in a remote northern community – but not as you expect it.

It is on Friday March 27 at 7.45pm

Review: Sue Wilkinson