Mozzz! 5 Stars

Mozz
The Latest Music Bar
11th to 13th May 2017

Mozzz! A week in the life of an undercover mosquito. A highly topical, witty, sexy monodrama from Festival award winners, director/designer Faynia Williams and actor/playwright Richard Crane. A one-day-old male mosquito looks forward to joining the mile-high club and mating in the air. He invites you to donate just a sip of your blood to nurture his children. But there’s a war on and the most dangerous species on earth is dying by the million. Can science stop the carnage? Whose side is our Mozzz on? World premiere from Brighton’s most exciting theatre company. “Crane and Williams turn the impossible into an art”.

Produced by Brighton Theatre Company
Directed by Faynia Williams
Performed by Richard Crane

Review by Roy Butler, 5 Stars

Mozzz! is a stark, highly-conceptual, tightly-woven monologue that buzzes from strength to strength.  Birthed and realised from the creative spark of director/designer Faynia Williams and actor/playwright Richard Crane, it captures perfectly the qualities that make fringe theatre so innovative and exciting.

Mozzz! treats us to a week in the (full) life of a mosquito.  In Act 1, Mozzz (Crane) is at once new and pre-adolescent, spreading his wings for the first time, flitting around his fresh world and eager to join the illustrious Mile High Club, and mate in the air.  He is naïve to his actual future, yet aware of what beautifully separates him from the birds and mankind.  He is then, in Act 2, in his prime, sexual, virile.  He mates, he soars and his wisdom, growing like his sex, is challenged by the female, mid-coitus, and deflated.  In Act 3, Mozzz is at the twilight of this life, and he knows more than he ever has about himself, the war between his kind and mankind and why he was tragically destined never to father a new generation of larvae.  But in his death is the threat of him really gone?

Mozzz! is about more than the life of a bug.  It treats the subjects of life, death, lust, war, genetic modification and environmental awareness in succinct, engaging 50-minute monologue.  It is a clever indictment of mankind’s fraught relationship with his environment and the myriad forms of life with which that world is shared.

Crane’s script is a tight collection of words, thoughts, logical extrapolations and flotsam designed to mimic the frantic reasoning of a mosquito personified.  It is full of wit couched in quick thoughts and rapidly produced sentence fragments.  The humour was infectious, driving a real engagement and identification with Mozzz.  The tender and dramatic turns were well-timed and well-paced.

The set and integrated sound, like the script, were pared back to only the essentials.  The main stage held a half-dozen collection of joined-up bar stools and a single mosquito net curtain.  Cleverly, the complete set for Mozzz! was the whole theatre space.  Tables for the audience were arranged cabaret-style, candle-lit and spilling onto the mainstage.  The serene cadences of Iestyn Davies singing Sting’s “Every Breath You Take” were soothing and welcoming between acts, interrupted by a buzz you couldn’t place.  Before each act, Mozzz is introduced by a loud wooden swat, materialising behind you or beside you off the mainstage.  Every aspect of the room was used; at one point Mozzz was on the bar top at the back of the room, and another flitting in the shadows with an attendant buzz, at once discomforting and giving voice to his pervading presence in our lives necessarily – the war between mankind and mosquito.  The austerity of the set and sound were well-constructed complements to Crane’s very economical and effective storytelling.

The lighting throughout Mozzz! was stark, as was the all black costume complete with cap with mosquito antennae, specs for the changing shape of the mosquito’s eyes over its lifetime and a head torch, the symbolic light within Mozzz.  On occasion, the stage lighting was dimmed to reflect the darker mood of the play, those junctures where the socio-political cut through the lightness and the humour.  Otherwise, the only way you could follow Mozzz was aurally or by the light on his head.

Williams’ direction and design offered up the kind of production well-suited for pop-up and fringe theatre.   There are minimal props, a maximal use of space and a constancy of movement and audience interface that keeps tension and awareness high, right up to the relative stillness and philosophical poignancy in Mozzz’s final moments.

I highly recommend Mozzz! to any audience.

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