I must confess, I take Fringe performances with a grain of salt, I don’t expect it to be brilliant or life altering; yet in the moments before Ruaraidh Murray’s performance began, the space was electrified with anticipation, word of Diana Rigg’s investment in Big Sean, Mikey and Me and its resounding success at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2012 circulates and I find myself caught in the hype.
Big Sean, Mikey and Me has it all really; an outlandish Scottish man, Sean Connery, a bit of Olivia Newton-John and a brilliantly funny yet serious autobiographic narrative that never falters. Being a one man show, I wasn’t anticipating brilliance, but to my surprise, the hour-long piece was one of the most entertaining and gripping pieces of theatre I’ve seen in a while, time appeared to transcend itself as I became absorbed by Murray’s exuding charisma.
Murray’s performance is a quirky and somewhat eccentric accumulation of cleverly intertwined anecdotes, with a lack of chronology that keeps the pace quick and the piece fresh and exciting. Big Sean, Mikey and Me presents a perfect balance of action and comedy, there was never a moment where I felt a lapse in energy or became disengaged.
This I found was mainly due to Murray’s brilliant structuring, something that alluded to Epic Theatre with its almost episodic nature, adorned with comedic musical interludes and the epistolary utterances from the titular Mikey. These empathetic comedic moments (most of which spawn from Murray’s, self-confessed, terrible Sean Connery impression) are masterfully counterbalanced with poignant interjections of personal darkness and turmoil that creates a gripping and edgy atmosphere, enhanced by the eerie reverberations of the trains from the station above.
Murray presents a hilarious and down to earth portrayal of life as a young Edinburgh gang member in the 90s; the struggles with addiction, love, and mental illness; the trials of being an actor, having a best friend in prison and Sean Connery as a wayward, interruptive and misbehaving imaginary friend.
Review by Francesca Fell
BIG SEAN, MIKEY AND ME, a darkly comic one-man show written and performed by Edinburgh-born actor Ruaraidh Murray and directed by Paul Robinson, will have its London debut in 2015, playing as part of the Vault Festival from 4 – 8 February.
Big Sean, Mikey and Me had great success at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2012, with a sell-out run and five -star reviews. The Gilded Balloon toured the show in Scotland in 2013. Ruaraidh has since had sell-out successes at the Festival, with the critically acclaimed shows Bath Time (2013), and Boxman (2014) both of which also enjoyed sell-out runs and five/four star reviews.
Big Sean, Mikey and Me is the story of Ruaraidh, his imaginary friend Sean Connery and his childhood pal, rough diamond, Mikey and their adventures through the streets of Edinburgh that tourist guides omit…
Ruaraidh was born and raised in Stockbridge in Edinburgh and went on to study acting at The Oxford School of Drama. He was a member of the Traverse Theatre and Royal Court Theatre young writers groups, and his theatre acting credits include the 10 year stage revival of Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting (No.1 UK Tour), Tom Kempinski’s High Jumpers (New End Theatre) and Jimmy Barr’s Disintegration and We’re All Doing Time (Union Theatre).
Ruaraidh’s film/TV acting credits include: feature film New Town Killers, Irvine Welsh’s The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs, BBC’s Sea of Souls, Dalziel and Pascoe, ITV’s Lenny Blue, C4’s Sword of Honour. Ruaraidh recently acted with Brian Cox in BBC comedy Bob Servant Independent. He has a starring role in the British feature film Night Bus directed by Simon Baker which premiered at the BFI London Film Festival 2014. He can be seen on Netflix starring in Borgia season 3.
Director Paul Robinson is the award winning artistic director of Theatre503, the home of ground-breaking plays, described by the Guardian as “arguably the most important theatre in the Britain today” www.theatre503.com
Ruaraidh and Paul are currently writing the feature film script for Big Sean, Mikey and Me.
Sunday 8th February 2015