My Favourite Summer
Cramphorn Theatre, Chelmsford
Wednesday 29th February 2012
Dave (Matthew Booth) introduces himself directly to the audience, warning us that this is the story of the worst summer of his life, drawing attention to the obvious misnomer in the title.
We are very much in the 90s, with Dave's Oasis t-shirt and blasts of Blur and REM on the radio. There is a strong feeling of autobiography from this piece as we discover more about it's protagonist, the struggling actor straight out of Drama school. He narrates us through the action, switching to become part of the scene in a moment, wry looks at the audience, witty asides. A very relaxed, confident performance.
All the other character's are shared between Fiona Organ and Keith Hukin, variously Dave's parents, love interest, co-workers, etc. Each a unique and well-formed comic character, with only fairly subtle quick-changes of costume to differentiate between them. These two supporting actors worked hard and helped to keep the pace lithe. Hukin's interpretation of Melvin, the disgusting co-worker, was inspired and had the audience both wincing and laughing in equal measure.
We find ourselves rooting for the underdog in this story of lost-love, although the inevitable unhappy ending was echoed from the very beginning in the explanation of the ironic title.
A wonderfully written piece of comic drama, which could only have been made better if only a few more people had taken a chance on it on it's brief visit to Chelmsford. This reviewer will be keeping an eye out for the Harrogate-based Reform Theatre Company next time around.