Fringe Box



Review: You Give Me Fever – Guildford Fringe The Star Inn

Published on: 25 May, 2017
Updated on: 25 May, 2017

By Ferenc Hepp

If you are a Guildford resident and interested in live theatre, the Guildford Fringe Theatre Company must now be familiar to you. It was established by Nick Wyschna in 2012 and has grown considerably since with productions in a number of venues across the town.

It all started in the Back Room of The Star Inn on Quarry Street and this is the venue for this week’s offering of You Give Me Fever – The Phaedra Cabaret which is being produced in conjunction with LynchPin Productions Theatre Company.

Don’t let the popcorn, on offer as soon as you enter the intimate space, put you off. It does not reflect the style of this piece.

As soon as the lights dim, the glamorous figure of Pippa Winslow, well-established actress and singer with credits including The Sound of Music, The Phantom of the Opera and Sister Act, strides onto the stage as Fey through the seating which is set out in cabaret style with tables, chairs and candles.

Already in place is James Shannon, recent graduate of Guildford’s Academy of Contemporary Music, is on the jazz guitar.

The third “star of the show” is the trolley full of ingredients for numerous cocktails such as Dirty Greek, Athena and Greek Passion which very much form a centrepiece of the plot, and as the character of Fey establishes early on, we are in a “cocktail bar where the libations never stop”.

If you pick up a programme you are able to make these cocktails yourself as the recipes are detailed, however, the only clue we get from the ones on stage are the shapes of the bottles, as the ingredients have no colour until the very end.

This is possibly deliberate, although I would have liked to see a bit more than water being mixed with water, which can be achieved without any alcoholic ingredients, for effect.

The story of Phaedra is told by Winslow via a mixture of first-person narrative and jazz classics cleverly interwoven, sensuously sung by Winslow, and perfectly accompanied by Shannon on the jazz guitar.

The arrangements by Shannon and the writing by Jack Lynch complement each other well, with the use of songs such as My Man to represent Phaedra’s relationship with her husband Theseus, Guilty to suggest her feeling about wanting a much younger “hipster” after her husband’s death, who is in fact Hippolytus (Theseus’s son by another woman) and snippets of other classics such as Mad About the Boy, Let’s Face the Music and Dance, and Fever, which gets a reprise at the end after the twist in the story.

No production is ever complete without technical support and this is ably provided by LynchPin’s resident stage manager and lighting designer, Elisabeth Tooms.

Greek tragedy and jazz is not for everyone, but if you are a fan of even just one of these, the combination in this piece does somehow work and there is even a chance for a little audience interaction which mostly came from a rather enthusiastic member of the audience at the table behind us on Tuesday evening, who very much empathised with Fey’s story.

You Give Me Fever runs until Saturday May 27 and tickets are available via the website: or by calling the box office on: 0333 666 3366.

Share This Post

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *