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Big Egg Theatre presents The Mayor of Everywhere by Jack Harrison and Dave Reeson

Directed by Jack Harrison and Dave Reeson

Produced by Molly Blake
Stage manager: Lydia Harrison
Design: Helen Russell Brown
Technical design: Freddy Marlow and Harry Bojakowski
Performed at Stage@Leeds
An epic tale of betrayal, revenge, secrecy and power akin to an apocalyptic Shakespearian
tragedy, the latest wacky offering from writers Jack Harrison and Dave Reeson leaves me with
tonnes to talk about.
As you enter the space to see a dimly-lit set constructed from old bits of wood and other clutter,
including a wonky chandelier made of cutlery (good job to whoever made that), The Mayor of
Everywhere launches us into a dystopian future. Something (were never sure quite what) has
happened, which has led groups to form their own small kingdoms. The kingdom of Here
apparently consists of an old pub, whilst the kingdom of There has seemingly taken up residence
in a salon. The plot is simple but captivating: what happens in a Shakespeare where Messenger 1
becomes King?
The first act of the three hour play concerns itself mainly with setting up the context and the
characters. We meet the royalty and servants of Here and There, and learn that the Queen of
Here is dead and the Queen of There is a vicious tyrant, whilst the Kings of both Here and There
want peace between their constantly warring nations.
In Harrison and Reesons writing there is often a difficult balance to strike between believability
and farce. The expositional aim of Act 1 leads to characters being written as caricatures of
themselves: we are to know them as larger than life, comedic even (I certainly chuckled a lot).
The difficulty for the performers, then, comes in hitting the perfect spot between exaggeration
and absurdity. Often in Act 1 it was apparent that the actors were stumbling to find their feet in
the intricacy of the script either failing to commit fully to the exuberant characters, or
committing so whole-heartedly that they lost their human touch. Exceptions to this observation
were the memorable performances of Harrison and Reeson themselves. As the beaten-down
King of There and the beaten-down manservant Brrgyn, the two manage to navigate the both
the wit and tenderness of their own script perfectly a glimpse into the brilliant potential of
their work.
After Act 1s enormous massacre, brilliantly choreographed by Harry Crowson - there was
always something going on wherever you looked, teetering on the knife edge between
uncomfortably violent and hilariously slapstick - the play and the performers come into their
own. Harry Duff Walker, one of the plays gems throughout, is particularly magnificent as the
King of Here, slowly slipping into insanity in a scene reminiscent of Richard IIs V:V. Jodie Chun,
as Patricia, is also afforded room to showcase her talent, with two powerful emotional scenes
between her, her father and her lover. Ashton Gould is successful in portraying Mittuss inner
turmoil, as the leader of a revolution caught between his communist dream and his hunger for
power. Also deserving of recognition are Beth Mulrenan, who shines as both Queen of There and
the Milk Merchant, Tasha Harveys charming performance as Jrrgyn, and David Leys deeply
unsettling portrayal of the leering Chef- the royal torturer for the kingdom of There.
The aforementioned set is cleverly used: various boxes and crates create throne rooms and
servants quarters, bedrooms and prison cells. The trouble with utilising and relying on the set
in this way, of course, is that scene changeovers take time - time spent watching the various
actors carrying bits of wood around in purple lighting, with Richard Jacksons original ambient

music as accompaniment. While these transitions were very smoothly choreographed, and
clearly rehearsed diligently, I wonder if the constant musical breaks took away from the
jeopardy and intrigue of the plot, which definitely has enough meat to stand strong alone
without the need for complex set changes.
The Mayor of Everywhere is yet another fantastically written and elaborate offering by some of
the most exciting young writers working in Leeds. Despite some stumbling blocks in its onstage
realisation, the pieces potential is glaringly apparent, and one leaves the theatre knowing that
they have witnessed something special.
Jess Batty