Review by Emma Whitelaw
COULD it be that missing explorer, Percy Harrison Fawcett, never
wanted to be found?
The secrets surrounding the disappearance of Fawcett have now
been revealed in a bold new play, Amazonia, by award-winning
writer/director, Misha Williams, at The Bridewell Theatre.
Despite numerous rescue attempts, resulting in over 100 fatalities,
could he have deliberately evaded salvation in order to live a
long and blissful life deep in the Amazon?
Amazonia is an extraordinary piece of theatre, based on
the enduring Fawcett mystery, and the secret archives of the Fawcett
For years, PH Fawcett's son, Brian, had held these papers under
It was thought that he had kept them from the public in a bid
to protect his father's reputation from the shame of failure.
After the recent revelations, however, it appears his intentions
were far more sinister.
Colin Starkey is tremendous as the neglected son, Brian. He is
captivating and manages to convey every bit of the frustration
his character endured, in not only being excluded from his father's
expedition, but having to shelter his family from the prying exploitation
from Hollywood and the BBC.
In keeping true to the secret archives, Amazonia's most
incredible character is that of M, an exotic female elemental.
Catherine Gill gives a stunning performance as the wickedly devilish
sith that toys with Brian and manipulates his every move.
M attached herself to Brian when he was only a small boy, and
governed his life thereafter, including the instigation of such
events as the loss of his first wife and unborn child.
Maureen Flynn is adorable as Brian's second wife, Ruth. She is
loving and supportive and tolerates his quirkiness with ease.
She is the perfect wife and is ever so easily pleased; promises
of cream teas in town almost immediately alleviate her concerns
about the flying teacups in the lounge room.
The lighting, music and sound design is minimal, yet incredibly
effective, while the jungle scenes are particularly good.
Simplistic tools, such as green lights and various jungle sounds,
were successful in giving the illusion that they were in the heart
of the Amazon.
The tale is truly a fascinating one and leaves the question of
Fawcett and his 'Messiah' son, Jack's survival, open to interpretation.
Were they victorious in their search for the City of Gold? Or
were they the victims of cannibals? Perhaps hostile Indians? Or
perhaps even starvation or disease?
Either way, it is an amazingly intriguing play and certainly
one to see if you enjoy mystery and mysticism.
Amazonia, written and directed by Misha Williams. Starring
Colin Starkey, Matthew Woolcott, Phillip Law, Cate Fowler, Maureen
Flynn, Catherine Gill, Roy Sampson, April Walker and Trevor Jones.
Producer Caroline Sealby, Designer Dana Pinto, Lighting Flick
Ansell, Music/Sound Steve Everitt. Presented by Kevin Wilson Public
Relations. April 13 to May 1 at The Bridewell Theatre, Bride Lane,
London EC4. Box Office: 020 7936 3456.