Review: Best Foot Forward, Mikron Theatre

Rose McPhilemy as Connie from Best Foot Forward. Picture by Peter Boyd.
Rose McPhilemy as Connie from Best Foot Forward. Picture by Peter Boyd.
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There’s a song in Mikron Theatre’s two hour gamble through the history of the Youth Hostel Association which neatly sums up the theatre company’s approach.

The Wainwright Appreciation Society pokes gentle fun at that breed of walker who knows as much about outdoors one-upmanship as they do ordnance survey maps. Acutely observed, cheeky, and just a little bit irreverent, it’s what Mikron do so well.

The other thing the Marsden-based company does well is casting. While an ability to act goes without saying, the cast also have to play a couple of musical instruments, be willing to man the merchandise stall at the interval and with Mikron’s main form of transport a narrowboat they also need to be comfortable in confined spaces.

It’s early days in this year’s touring season, but Rose McPhilemy, Craig Anderson, Claire Marie Seddon and James McLean appear the perfect quartet.

There’s not a huge amount of plot, there never is, but there are some lovely moments in Best Food Forward, from the YHA’s unlikely origins in Nazi Germany to the Foot and Mouth epidemic which at once threatened the future of the organisation and brought out the very best in its members.

It’s the first time Mikron have played the YHA, but the tour will take them to allotments, churches, community centres and art galleries as they take theatre out of its traditional confines and serve up another easily digestible slice of social history.

At the end, McPhilemy, who plays Connie, the spirit of the YHA, waves the audience goodbye hoping they have been entertained and learnt a little on the way. We have.

Mikron operate on a pay what you feel basis. If the warm appreciation of the York audience was anything to go by they should have done very nicely.