by | Nov 4, 2021 | Featured, Reviews

‘Sirens’ is an original drama by Kenny Emson, an award-winning play writer and screenwriter, and is the first in a series of works titled Mercury Originals.

The Mercury Originals programme is a range of risk-taking, compelling new works in The Studio. The plays are nurtured through the Mercury’s artist development programme which aims to cultivate the theatre makers of tomorrow and push the boundaries of theatre. The Studio is a gorgeous intimate space where the closeness of the performance is more enthralling, the actors cannot hide for a moment which can make it more enjoyable and intense.

Based locally on Mersea Island, ‘Sirens’ spans the lives of two people over thirty-four years. At seventeen Rory, (Simon Darwen) wants to leave Mersea and run away to London – he doesn’t want to stay in a dead-end place where the only option for him would be something like running the caravan park. He wants to be better than that, desperate to get away. Gemma (Tanya-Loretta Dee), Rory’s almost girlfriend, doesn’t want to take the risk and leave as she is holding onto a secret. Rory tries to convince her but fails. The consequences of their actions from that night affect the rest of their lives.

Only three scenes and no interval, however each scene is one part of one day of their lives, at seventeen years old, thirty-four and fifty-one. Only one part of one day over thirty-four years, nevertheless, you know exactly what’s happened and how their lives have been ripped apart. It’s been cleverly written without any need for over explanation by the characters, it works, you know what’s gone on and you are sucked in.

You become emotionally attached to the characters as the actors are good and bring the story to life. It deals with relationships, grief, loss and the thoughts of what could have been – ones we all have, so we can all relate when we get that bit older.

The cast have to deal with plenty of dialogue, which they do admirably, and due to the nature of the character’s relationships with each other and the landscape of the story, to make it work the actors needed to have perfect timing and a rapport with each other. Simon, Tanya-Loretta and Jesse achieved this at an exceptional standard, they came across so natural and real and it made the play – any less of a performance and it wouldn’t have portrayed Emson’s emotive works as intended.

A simple set, yet nothing else is needed. This is what going to the theatre is all about.

Simon Darwen – Rory
Tanya-Loretta Dee – Gemma
Jesse Akele – Isla

Warning: the show includes smoking and strong language.

Sirens is on at the Mercury until Saturday 6th November:


  • Hayley Clapperton

    Hayley is a business co-owner working too many hours so it's a good job she's passionate about it. Hayley's down time is music, music and music of all types and she enjoys going to gigs, listening to new bands and breathing in the energy it creates.

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