Sunday, July 3

Sunday Morning – Riverside Studios

Mat, a successful, middle-aged photographer takes the audience on a heart-warming, epiphanic journey in the one-man show, Sunday Morning. Directed by Jenine Collocott and written by Nick Warren, it was performed by James Cuningham at the Riverside Studios as part of the Bitesize Festival.

On learning that his girlfriend is pregnant, a stunned Mat goes for a jog in his neighbourhood to do some “thinking.” The stage with some grey blocks covered with Sunday newspaper collages turned into a neighbourhood in Johannesburg with vivid descriptions offered by Warren and skilfully articulated by Cuningham.

The show was delightfully packed with Mat’s reflections on success, independence, and the uninvited role of becoming a father in his 40s. Without making Mat sound like a man-child, Warren’s eloquent writing and Cuningham’s fine performance engaged the audience for the entire hour and successfully created sympathy for his plight and anxiety. The highlights of the show were Cuningham’s accurate comic timing, nuanced miming, and eased delivery. With breezy gestures and evocative eyes, Cuningham brought his world to life on stage. Be it the jacaranda trees in his backyard or his girlfriend Susie and her idiosyncrasies.

The light suffused with shades of pink and amber created a warm Sunday morning while a dim blue illuminated a dodgy tunnel in Johannesburg. The blackouts were timed perfectly to change location and time. Keeping up with the pace of the physicality and the tone of the piece, the music complimented the narrative aptly. The set was under-utilised and could have been explored further to integrate with the rest of the performance.

A humble, affective, and authentic narrative of a middle-aged man about to enter parenthood, this play is sure to take you on a bittersweet ride.

Reviewer: Khushboo Shah

Reviewed: 8th February 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★