Theatre review: Merrily on High, Wells Maltings

The cast of Merily on High at the Wells Maltings, from left, Sam Thompson, Owen Evans and Dawn Finnerty

The cast of Merrily on High at the Wells Maltings, from left, Sam Thompson, Owen Evans and Dawn Finnerty - Credit: Supplied by fEAST

Live theatre! Reduced audiences, masked, slightly chilly, distanced from neighbours – and yet the natural animal warmth of being in the same space with proper actors performing – acting, revives spirits. What a treat!

Merrily on High is fEAST Theatre’s latest offering, and it has brought good live theatre back to Wells Maltings. Starting on December 18 and concluding on December 19, there were three original acts, two written by Rob John and one by Robin McLoughlin.

First on was O Come Let us Adore Him by Mr John, with artistic director and producer of fEAST, Dawn Finnerty, playing Su, a desperately lonely lady fantasizing about the principal man in her life, the postman.

Creating successions of romantic scenarios around a remote acquaintance, her loneliness echoes a great deal of our own lockdown experiences.

Next, Mr McLoughlin’s Comfort and Joy was played with great verve by Owen Evans, giving us a taste of seasonal scariness as he gives us us a grimly sinister Santa with a true taste for serious crime.

Finally, Mr John’s The Triumph of the Skies. This is a real triumph, with a wonderful young actor, Sam Thompson playing Adeb, waiting for his best friend, a childhood school buddy.

They meet annually and serenade their small Norfolk village with Christmas carols. This play encompasses so much - from growing up in modern rural Norfolk, to modern technology, the educational and class system, all in sparkling dialect; it is feisty, humorous, tender and a truly successful performance.

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Viva live theatre!

fEAST's artistic director Dawn Finnerty is one of three actors in Merrily on High at Wells Maltings. 

fEAST's artistic director Dawn Finnerty is one of three actors in Merrily on High at Wells Maltings. - Credit: Supplied by fEAST

*Merily on High concludes Saturday, December 19. See www.wellsmaltings.org.uk for more.

Owen Evans is one of three actors in Merrily on High at Wells Maltings. 

Owen Evans is one of three actors in Merrily on High at Wells Maltings. - Credit: Supplied by fEAST


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