Manchester Theatre Awards

> Independent informed reviews by the region’s most experienced critics

The Séance (GM Fringe)

Andrew Siddall
Andous Productions
53 Two Manchester
05 July 2018 to 07 July 2018

 

The Séance, by Andrew Siddall , enters familiar territory . Films like Ghost and Truly, Madly Deeply feature a character returning from death to check out how a loved one is coping. But this is a re-written version of the play that premiered a couple of years ago and the revisions have shifted the focus away from the central characters to give wider coverage of those on the periphery and, as a result, the play has become much more satisfying being funny and charming.

After five years Danny (Sam Danson) finds the courage to propose to his girlfriend Kate (Parissa Zamanpour) only to die in an accident so dumb he becomes the laughing stock of the afterlife. Guided by more experienced spirits George and Frank (respectively Peter Richards and David Bresnahan) Danny tries to make contact with Kate via Mme DuLille( Alexis Tuttle)  – a Medium who runs a regular Séance. He is horrified to find Kate is now in a relationship with his best friend Sean(Ed Darling).

One of the themes touched on in The Séance is that love is not fair and promotes selfishness. This viewpoint is reflected in Sam Danson’s performance as Danny spends the whole show comically pouting and sulking about his situation. However, Siddall widens the scope of the play and contrasts Danny’s attitude with the more mature approach taken by George who is patiently waiting for his wife Emily to join him in the afterlife and accepts that she might decide that she has other options. The reflective approach taken by Peter Richards and Lindsay Eavis (as Emily) brings charm to the play.

Director Sarah Wilkinson balances the various elements in the play- ranging from the laddish banter between Danson and Darling to a surprisingly effective action sequence – very well. There is the occasional sense of the cast speaking the dialogue as if they are delivering punchlines rather than conversing but in the main the performances are spot-on. There is some inspired clowning from David Bresnahan and Alexis Tuttle pretty much steals any scene in which she features.

The Séance proves the value of an author being willing to revise his work and is both funny and moving.

Reviewer: David Cunningham