"Brilliant. Compelling, funny and believable."
by Anna Marks for remotegoat on 27/09/13

It's one of those painful family occasions that no one really enjoys – could be wedding, could be funeral, could be both. Whatever it is, it's an aftermath. The participants are alcohol-fuelled, knackered and the cracks are beginning to show.
Three childhood friends – grounded northern boys Simon, Pat and Ed – end of evening partying in their traditional local. But there's been a big change. One of them, Simon, has hooked up with a seductive southern temptress, Sarah.
Polly Hughes plays Sarah in a truly amazing, brilliant performance. This character and this actor would shine on any world stage. Sarah is an archetypal dangerous female – think siren, snake, gorgon, vampire. But she is also a practical, down to earth Surrey business woman with plans for the pub.
She and partner Simon want the place to metamorphose from comfortable traditional watering hole to pub with food – tapas Tuesdays and tables in, dingy wallpaper and darts out. This idea does not go down well with the lads.
These lads are not exactly simple souls but neither are they city high flyers. Simon is ever present in thought and conversation but otherwise practically invisible. Rhys King plays a punchy, dead pan Pat with an ex wife, bladder problems, a ballet dancing son and an unfortunate association with dead domestic animals – plenty of scope there for laughs. Eddie Elks (also the playwright) is a wry innocent who aspires to a Ford Focus and unlimited eggs. The boys give very strong, totally convincing performances.
Mugs Arrows is a clever, multi-layered composition. The pub's dartboard is one of the play's focal points and much of the action centres on the game and the arrows. However, deeper symbolism is apparent (Cupid comes to mind).
The beauty of this show lies not only in the lines but also in what lies between the lines. The audience is told, shown and given the freedom to imagine. We see cleverly crafted movement from people more or less in control to losing it. There is a wide spectrum of responses to the fearsome female and it is this, the effects that women have on men, which forms the backbone of the play. Are the men mugs? Mugs away.
The play travels from everyday to surreal and safety to danger in tantalising steps. At times you're on the edge of your seat just waiting for an arrow in the eye. It's mesmerising. Go see it.

Add your review? Have your say, add your review

Other recent reviews by Anna Marks
The Brexit Club Brexit tensions hit pickle factory
HOME by Frozen Light on tour a haunting, beautiful perceptual delight
Frankenstein Tiptop cleverly crafted theatrical treat
Betrayal snapshot memories plucked from time
A Murder is Announced lethal revolver, great drawing room
Mrs Warren's Profession Engrossing, goodbye love's young dream
She Ain't Heavy She's my Mo... powerful, painful, illuminating family story
Unearthed twins take on tricky tasks
Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage Great try from Welsh wizards
The Mist in the Mirror set piece injected with sparkle
Unfinished Business present... needs more ice and fire
Real Person Fiction salutary glimpse into online abuse
Antigone beautiful, brutal struggle for power
Do We Do The Right Thing? memories and reflections on repatriation
Three Men in a Boat formulaic retelling of Victorian gem
An Elephant in the Garden Dresden atrocity retold with elephant
Christie in Love Dark dissection of mass murderer
Doctor Faustus Shock, horror. Man sells soul.
Pete (The Temp) vs Climate ... poetry and pictures with passion
The Day We Played Brazil Football and a great city