Review – The Mayflower, Clock In Theatre, Flash Fringe Festival, University of Northampton 3rd Year BA Acting Students, Northampton Playhouse, 31st March 2023

The MayflowerThis is how The Mayflower is described online: “Our story follows the lives of two young people during the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Set in The Mayflower, a local karaoke pub, we follow our two protagonists though the highs and lows of adapting to adult life and the ever growing pressure of a looming epidemic.”

Kira GarnerMaggie has lost her parents, and all she has now in the world is the family pub, The Mayflower, which she continues to run as an LGBT venue. One day a first year student, Adam, plucks up the courage to go in but he’s really uncomfortable. Maggie convinces him this is a safe space, and over the months he grows in confidence and self-awareness, and the two have a great friendship. But Maggie is concerned about the stories of this unexplained virus that’s been affecting people in America; she specifically wants Adam to stay safe. But Adam thinks it’s all a load of nonsense. The pub is losing money, and Adam is drifting apart from Maggie because of her constant worrying. Will there be a happy future for all three of them?

Charlie FranklinA strong story, superbly told, with two likeable actors playing two highly credible characters. Kira Garner is excellent as Maggie, capturing all her “mother hen” aspects, and the slow rising fear that AIDS might come to Britain. Charlie Franklin plays Adam with a wonderful feel for both the humour and the pathos of the character. They work together extremely well, with word-perfect heated exchanges, and some nicely re-enacted shared karaoke moments. I really appreciated that the choice of music was fully in keeping with the implied era of the show – nothing later than 1985!

It’s a witty, sensitive and emotional piece of writing that completely holds the audience’s attention. You smile and laugh with the characters, but are also fearful for their future. The highly emotional ending was extremely well portrayed. Definitely one of the best Flash Fringe shows this year!

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