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Review: Owls In The Moss – The Star Inn

Published on: 12 Apr, 2013
Updated on: 12 Apr, 2013

By Flora Windebank

The Guildford Fringe Theatre Company is flourishing and I have returned from their latest show Owls in the Moss truly impressed.

Spencer Cummins

Spencer Cummins

It was a few months ago I interviewed enthusiastic duo Nick Wyschna and Niall Bailey on their new theatre company which had only just been set up in Guildford. Three shows, a few months and many good reviews later, I remain convinced they are ones to watch.

The evening’s experience was called ‘A play, a Pint and a Pasty’, a concept which suited this  hungry reviewer, who had not had time for dinner, very well. Included in the ticket price were a pint to take in with you and a hot pasty to enjoy after the show.

The play was located in the back room of the Star Inn on Quarry Street, which created the perfect atmosphere to enjoy all three.

Caoline Deverill

Caoline Deverill

Owls in the Moss is a new play, written and directed by Arvid Larsen. Previously an actor, this is the first play he has written and was a stunning first offering.

Inspired by the psychological intensity of Scandinavian playwrights such as Bergman and Ibsen, the play was set in an isolated cabin in the Norwegian mountains. The story follows a married couple, Jon and Helen, (Spencer Cummins and Caroline Deverill) who have come to the cottage for a holiday and celebration.

But the appearance of Fred (Charles Daish), a psychiatrist, in the neighbouring cabin puts Helen on edge and as the three spend more time together difficult secrets and truths begin to be revealed.

It is hard to say more about the story without giving it away, but the play became very dark and powerful, with many twists that kept your eyes completely glued to the stage.

Charles Daish

Charles Daish

The intimate setting in the Star Inn’s back room also meant you were so near to the stage  it felt as if you were in the room with the actors adding to close and brooding atmosphere.

The three cast members were an absolute joy to watch and managed to keep up an impressive level of emotional intensity throughout the hour and thirty minutes. Caroline Deverill gave an especially compelling performance as Helen, whose character begins to drastically change as the weight of the many secrets she has been carrying begins to take effect.

The sets, props and music were employed well. The company have learned important lessons, since their first show, when they were still getting started, in how to make the best use of the space and setting available.

The play, the pint and the pasty resulted in a fantastic evening out that I would strongly recommend. The Guildford Fringe Theatre Company has really triumphed in this instance and I eagerly look forward to seeing what they will do next.

The show runs until this Saturday, 13th April.

Click here to see The Guildford Fringe Theatre Company’s website

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