Writer: Lindsay Bennett
Reviewer: Iain Sykes
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Either way, The Mercury Complex, Lindsay Bennett’s one woman show about a girl wanting to follow in the footsteps of the late Queen frontman, Freddie Mercury, is a most entertaining half hour of theatre.
Sitting on a generally cardboard set with a doll and a teddy bear for company and Bennett as a five year old being inspired by watching the band at Live Aid on her twenty one inch portable television, she embarks on a journey and a life attempting to emulate the star. And along the way, with snippets of songs, sharply observed and produced humour and a great amount of physicality in leaping around the tiny stage with a child’s tennis racket as guitar, she produces a kind of magic as we follow her through life.
Even with the tragic death of Freddie she picks her new heroes wisely in the shape of Kurt Cobain and Janis Joplin and you begin to see a more moving thread running through the show. But as she moves on in search of somebody to love, and her life in her own bands becomes more under pressure, Bennett’s performance becomes even more watchable, demonstrating points with children’s toys, sprawling across the stage and even involving the audience in her nightly pre-gig bourbon rituals.
For a show that features the deaths of three people in a twenty five minute period, The Mercury Complex is actually a most uplifting experience. Bennett’s writing and performance are both sharp and entrancing and the show’s simple message that life’s too short and we should just sing through it if we want, is a difficult one to try and resist, especially when this talented performer leads the audience in one final Queen sing-along.
Reviewed on 19th August 2015