Bullet & Bullet – 12 July 2019. Merlin Theatre, Sheffield

We have supported Mage Plays since their very first production so were delighted to send our reviewer Callam Fellows along to review the opening night of their theatre take on the classic cop buddy film, promising angry chiefs, foreign drug barons and femme fatals.

“When it comes to creativity, Mage Plays doesn’t just think outside of the box, they take the box and build it into a whole city. The audience responded with audible awe when the houselights lowered and curtains opened to reveal the night-time skyline of the box-built and aptly named New Box City. Rurik Seven, Dale Raven, Kirsty Parkin and Hannah Pamplin should be congratulated for their innovative approach to set building and prop making, using cardboard cut-outs to create guns, rubber chickens and false moustaches, to name just a few items.

Whilst the props might be two-dimensional, the characters are anything but. The show follows uncle and niece Nick and Vicky Bullet as they are partnered together to investigate a new drug, “Stuff”, that is plaguing the streets of their beloved city. Nick Bullet is played by Jordan Maycock with a gruff and gravely Batman type voice, but his character is far from being the world’s greatest detective. His niece and new crime fighting partner, Vicky Bullet, is played by Agnetha Spencer who keeps the focus on the drug-busting plot throughout the madness whilst remaining an entertaining character and strong lead. Jack Hutson and Hope Baxter also deserve credit for their ability to balance comedy with drama.

A special mention must go to Scott Walsh for his performance as Mr. Wigglesworth, an overly sweet and Southern-sounding toyshop owner who you start to feel sorry for after seeing him get mixed up in an illegal drug ring. It’s also worth noting Dale Raven and his ability to leave an impact on the stage. I would have liked to have seen the Box News team deliver their headlines with more confidence, but I imagine their cue cards were recycled into scenery.

Writers Rurik Seven, Dale Raven and Christy J Stanley have succeeded in creating a comedy that parodies crime dramas and uses every trope it can, from high speed car chases and gun fights to opening title sequences and dramatic plot twists. The script displays a great sense of humour and self awareness, with Nick Bullet acknowledging “It’s cliché…Too cliché…”.

This is Mage Plays’ third comedy staged at The Merlin theatre. Game Night delved into the world of fantasy and Margarita delivered a cheesy rom-com. The Mage Plays team have now tackled buddy cop stories with Bullet and Bullet. I look forward to find out what genre Mage Plays will dissect next. Back to you in the news room.

This review is written in memory of Old Granny Winkleman and Mr. Sprinkles the Cat.”

Your last chance to see Bullet & Bullet is on Saturday 13 July at 7.30pm at the Merlin Theatre. Tickets are £12. To book visit www.tickettailor.com/events/mageplaysltd/261931/#.

Founded in early 2018, Mage Plays are a Sheffield based, amateur theatre company whose goal is provide a platform for original works of theatre, bringing life to writing from local artists. They put on two shows per year covering a variety of genres with one thing in common, they guaranteed to make audiences laugh. For further information visit https://mageplays.com.

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