Red Sky At Night Review

A night out to watch theatre in a fish and chip restaurant? Yes please! I adore Mikron Theatre Company and their mission to create theatre anywhere for everyone. They travel by boat and by road all over the country to perform in both unique and traditional venues, making sure their shows can be accessed by every community. It’s beyond heart-warming, and beyond inspiring to see a cast of four tenacious talents take to the stage to deliver yet another unique play. It must be tough to be on such an intense tour, and yet the energy on stage and in the room is endless, and it’s clear to see every single person involved in Mikron has an undeniable passion and love for the arts.

Red Sky At Night is a new offering from playwright Lindsay Rodden, with unique compositions by Sonum Batra (which provide some of my favourite moments of the evening). The show is beautifully directed by Marianne McNamara with great musical direction and arrangements by Rebekah Hughes, telling the story of Helen and her journey to follow her father’s footsteps to become a meteorologist (and a weather girl along the way). We fall in love with the characters but, interestingly, we also learn all about the wild and wonderful world of weather and how we first started trying to predict it. I think that’s what makes Mikron so special – this isn’t a preachy play about climate change, but there is plenty of content in Red Sky At Night to challenge your thinking and heighten your understanding of a topic you’d never normally do a great deal of research on. All this while presenting you with a show packed full of songs (here’s me, patiently waiting for them to be released in Spotify… they really are that good!)

The cast are a joy to watch throughout. Any performer working with Mikron has to be the best of the best – they have to be able to play a multitude of roles, combine heart-warming with hilarious and be a fantastically talented musician while they’re at it. Hannah Bainbridge, Thomas Cotran, James McLean and Alice McKenna have it all!

Between them, they flit between the 1800s to modern day, giving us a glimpse at some of the historical figures who’ve influenced the weather as well as a whole host of quirky characters determined to change the way weather works today. Alice McKenna sings like an angel, as does Hannah Bainbridge, while James McLean provides some hilarious moments as Nigel. Thomas Cotran is a totally loveable love interest for our protagonist Helen (Hannah Bainbridge) and by the end of the night I’m sure every member of the audience will be grinning from ear to ear – as well as having learnt a little something along the way!

I’m going to say something a bit controversial here – theatre has got a bit predictable recently. Venues churn out the same kind of content month in, month out. Aside from classic musicals (which I do love), there’s not a lot of work I’m super interested in seeing at the moment, particularly new work. Mikron Theatre provide a breath of fresh air to the industry, bringing a unique concept to the stage. When else would you get the opportunity to tuck into some delicious fish and chips before watching a show all about the weather?

I’ll definitely be returning to the Wetherby Whaler on 20th September to see the company’s other 2022 touring show, Raising Agents, but I’d recommend you see both shows if you can. I can personally vouch for how fantastic Red Sky At Night is, that’s for sure.

Catch the show at a venue near you by checking out the tour dates on Mikron Theatre Company’s website.

Photograph credited to Liz Baker

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