‘A queer pub musical’ runs the tagline for Jack Sain and Stephen Libby’s booze laden retrospective. After a successful workshop at the Kings Head they have taken the plunge and fleshed it out The Green Fairy into a full length show for a run at the Union Theatre, writes Christopher Peacock.
There are wine bottles hanging from the ceiling, a piano in the corner and a well worn leather sofa ready to comfort some patrons, The Green Fairy is ready for its re-opening with an open mic night. However, the focus is soon shifted to Jo, a mother returning to the pub to try and reconnect with her daughter.
The Green Fairy plays out as ‘A Christmas Carol’ for the drunk, with the titular fairy being our ghost of Christmas past. Jo runs back the clock with the fairy recalling her laboured life choices and missed opportunities. The music certainly helps move the action on and in the first half, keeps a good pace. The clichéd-laden numbers also help set the scene, but feel heavy handed at times.
The performances from the actor/musicians are the highlight. Emma Whittaker’s multi-instrumental work, and Harry F Brown’s Stomp-esque percussion, bring vivacity and life to the numbers.
Without ever laying the blame at alcohol’s door, it certainly hints at the idea that misuse and abuse leaves you chatting to a fairy in your dreams while trying to make sense of your own life’s journey. As for being a queer tale, sexual orientation is never thoroughly explored and only ever really suggested at.
The Green Fairy is on at the Union Theatre, Old Union Arches, 229 Union Street, SE1 0LR until 23 November. Times: Tues – Sat 7.30pm; Weekend matinees 2.30pm. Admission: From £15.
Photos: Jack Sain