Now in its second year, Brain Hemingway is Erin Murray Quinlan’s exploration of writer’s block, self esteem and believing in your craft.
Erin’s on a deadline trying to write a show-stopping song, but she can’t shake the bad reviews for her previous venture, a Hemingway musical. And to make matters worse, the man himself won’t leave her head.
The subject matter certainly hit close to home for me, as a writer who often struggles to uncork the fountain of inspiration. With crisp, snappy dialogue, Erin battles with Evan Quinlan’s Hemingway who perfectly oozes patronising smarm. Her talent, appearance and even her young self are attacked, something many female creatives will surely relate to.
Ernest’s mythologised reputation is sent up at every turn, such as his fake quotes making it onto Etsy T-shirts- even Hemingway has forgotten what he actually said. Erin deftly strips him of his bravado and machismo, exposing the later years as a broken man running out of writing power. After Erin’s retorts cut back just as keenly as Ernest’s ‘mean-witty’ remarks, an uneasy truce is formed. I wasn’t expecting the musical numbers but they were tremendous; Erin and Evan’s on-stage chemistry really works.
A perfect show for lovers (and loathers) of Hemingway, and anyone struggling with their Muse.
Dead End Job [TheSpace on the Mile, 25 Aug]
The Fringe can bring unexpected gems, and when TheSpace press team recommended this as a last-minute choice due to front of house word of mouth, I was pleasantly surprised. Aubury is doomed to a purgatory doing a dead-end job day in, day out, training ghosts to sort their unfinished business and move on. Landed with a bumbling 17th-century aristocrat, Aubury finds themselves torn between their duty to haunt the living and their love for exorcist and all-round expert in everything Lyric Wilsonoff.
It’s a silly romp that reminded me of the sitcom Ghosts in places, with a sweet queer love story, a spot of slapstick, and some surreal moments. The musical asides for Lyric were particularly funny, as was the philandering misogynist Mr. Duff blustering his way through proceedings and the occasional fourth wall breaking. The packed theatre spoke for itself!
Queen Mary Theatre Company have brought a whopping four shows to the Fringe which is an achievement in itself- and if this wacky, absurd hour is anything to go by, they have a promising future at the festival.