Daniel Drench is an energetic, captivating storyteller. His boyish enthusiasm is infectious as he spins the tale of The Mermaid of Zennor to a full audience, stuffed into one of the hot bunkers of the Pleasance. Far from a simple reading, as someone unfamiliar with the burgeoning storytelling genre may assume, he leaps about the stage with admirable vigour to narrate his mythical story.
The Mermaid of Zennor is a traditional tale, with enough meat to appeal to a wide range of ages. A bit dark, a bit soulful, a bit naughty, it’s a gothic story about a coastal village outsider with a serious case of ennui. Drench’s narration is intercut with scenes where he acts as the central character of the tale – these vignettes are niftily lit by a rack of floor spotlights that pack a lot of atmospheric punch. Adding another layer to his performance, Drench occasionally breaks out of his narrator role all together to chat about Poldark, and connect with the audience.
With a beautiful accompanying score of sea songs, Cornwall is heavy in the air as we progress through the story. Drench’s voice rolls over you like a sea wave, with a rythmic, rolling quality that gently embraces you into its aural fold. Sadly the spell is broken when he doesn’t use this magnificent voice – the performance suffers in some overly-prolonged silent moments, that stops the suspension of disbelief and leaves the audience a bit twitchy. These atmosphere-shattering pauses are infrequent but ultimately break the natural rhythm of the show. Some shortening would heighten the drama, and let the change of pace between scenes flow more naturally.
Drenched is playing at Bunker 2, Pleasance Courtyard, every day at 3pm until Monday 27 August. You can buy tickets here.
CAST AND CREATIVES
Written by Eddie Elks and Dan Frost
Performed by Dan Frost