Mr Blue Sky is a piece of stunning, vibrant and life-affirming theatre that had me horrified, aching, and laughing, and by the end, I felt like simply getting up and dancing. The raw (and sometimes dark) humour coming from the stage was like a bolt of electricity.
The spirit, language, storytelling and sheer ebullient energy on stage was jaw-dropping. This was a cry from young hearts to stop our patronising 'adultsplaining', for young people to stop being either macho dicks, or just pure bitches. The central issue is mental health, and all the factors that can affect this for young people - as told by young, wise and serious-minded adults using their own language, inventions, music and movement.
Heavy does not mean leaden
It was uplifting, thrilling and even though heavy, difficult and thorny issues rose like hidden blades throughout, it was a triumph as a performance.
Bullying, exams, peer pressure, the strictures and structures of conformity, teenage sexuality, and the fear of venturing forth to a party, or even out of a room, were all featured in inventive, witty, and hard-hitting dialogues that were performed with astonishing versatility by this amazing and talented group of performers.
There were stand-out performances by literally every boy and girl on that stage - and the wit and inventiveness of the dialogue was delivered crisply, clearly and with immaculate timing throughout. They were all, in short, quite astonishing.
There's always an inherent danger with a 'devised' piece of theatre that there can be a lack of focus, a lack of flow, and the anodising effect of 'committee decisions'. Happily, there were absolutely no worries on that score, and it was clear that these actors had been given free rein, but had the benefit of tight direction and wise counsel as to the pace of delivery, use of props, and movement on stage.
The finale was exquisite - a five minute frenzy of joyful dance to the tune of ELO's eponymous Mr Blue Sky - with a masterful and yet seemingly effortless choreography, had the audience gasping with pure joy, and earned thunderous and sustained applause.
The only real pity is that this show's run is over - it took place as part of a weekend of performances all related to the issue of mental health for young people, performed by young people. The issues, and the performers deserve a far wider audience and attention.
Watch these performers in future...
Let me give you notice - there are some very talented young people working on and off stage with incredible skills and energy who are waiting in the wings to emerge into the light like some ravishing, exotic forces of nature onto the stages of Scotland. This was their crucible - and it was a heart-stopping privilege to witness it.
Lyceum Youth Theatre
Directed by Jo Sharp
Assistant Director: Rachel-Jane Morrison
- Eve Buglass
- Annie Cheung
- Dominic Demont Falcon
- Lucy Dewar
- Jack Forehand
- Beth Parry
- William Paterson
- Angelica Petherick
- Adam Richardson
- Lori Stott
Young Production Company
- Costume: Hannah Morrison
- Sound: Robert Coutts
- Assistant Stage Managers:
- Alex Cormack
- Sam Drysdale
- India Brown
★★★★★ Five stars
MR BLUE SKY
Lyceum Youth Theatre
Devised by the company
Sat 10 Mar, 2.30pm at Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh