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Review: Superstition Mountain, Greenwich Theatre

Following the death of their father, the three Gunwallow brothers come together to mourn his loss and settle his estate. But it turns out that there are a couple of teeny tiny financial issues which now threaten them. In desperation (or is it desperation for an adventure?) the three fly to Arizona to search for the legendary Lost Dutchman’s gold mine. The all-Cornish cast is great, with the three brothers working well together. There is a comfortable charm present. Ben Kernow as eldest brother Slim, and now head of the family, takes this very seriously. Darren Seed, as cocky…

Summary

Rating

Good

A script that zips along and is heavy on laughs, yet does a really effective job of balancing the play as a comedy and a dark family saga

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Following the death of their father, the three Gunwallow brothers come together to mourn his loss and settle his estate. But it turns out that there are a couple of teeny tiny financial issues which now threaten them. In desperation (or is it desperation for an adventure?) the three fly to Arizona to search for the legendary Lost Dutchman’s gold mine.

The all-Cornish cast is great, with the three brothers working well together. There is a comfortable charm present. Ben Kernow as eldest brother Slim, and now head of the family, takes this very seriously. Darren Seed, as cocky Dwayne, has other reasons to be happy to get out of the country. And then there’s Jack Brownridge-Kelly as the youngest, Mark. He seems more solid, more settled in life, but is still tricked into joining the adventure.

Carl Grose’s script zips along> it is very heavy on laughs, but still manages to balance the play as both a comedy and dark family saga. Everything comes together nicely. The script smartly sets up the twists and turns, which pay off with gold (sorry, not sorry!) as the play ends on an especially strong note.

I do though have to take a moment to note my distaste for what felt odd and unnecessary moments of misogyny and homophobia. The youngest brother, thought of as weak, is called ‘little sister’. When the brothers argue, one of them happily uses a homophobic slur which is then repeated later on. It is 2022, and these pieces of the script could do with a review.

Marrion Harrison lovely stage design somehow manages to work as a junkyard, motel, mine and even a plane and car! It amused me greatly that despite an obvious and available door, the cast often went around the set to exit/enter left and right. The lost goldmine sits there shining out from within the set like Chekov’s gold mine. It felt enjoyably meta, like the set was designed to be in on the joke. There is terrific sound work by Rory Lock throughout and particularly when this combines with the physical comedy of being in a car or on a plane. All of this energy comes together under Millie Brody’s direction and makes for a fun night out. There was a lot of laughter all around the audience on this Friday night.

This revival has transferred up from Cornwell’s stunning outdoor Minack Theatre and I imagine on a fine evening, this would have been quite special to see there. Ha-Hum-Ah Theatre is on tour with Superstition Mountain throughout May, if you want a fun evening out with a bunch of laughs well, there’s gold in them thar hills.

Written by Carl Grose
Directed by Millie Brolly
Produced by Ha-Hum-Ah Theatre and The Minack Theatre

Superstition Mountain is on tour throughout the UK during May. Full tour dates and further information can be found here.

About Dave B

Originally from Dublin but having moved around a lot, Dave moved to London, for a second time, in 2018. He works for a charity in the Health and Social Care sector. He has a particular interest in plays with an Irish or New Zealand theme/connection - one of these is easier to find in London than the other! Dave made his (somewhat unwilling) stage debut via audience participation on the day before Covid lockdowns began. He believes the two are unrelated but is keen to ensure no further audience participation... just to be on the safe side.
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