A COMICAL journey through the life (and threatened death) of a postal service.
It could only be Mikron Theatre Company, the Marsden-based theatre professionals who tour by narrowboat to venues which don’t usually host theatre.
Often, the company’s shows have a topical theme. This is the company which tells the stories of events, innovations and movements through the eyes of ordinary people and communities.
The company is currently planning its 2013 touring schedule and with that come two new shows.
First is Don’t Shoot the Messenger! perhaps not surprisingly about the history and possibly, the fate, of one of the country’s best loved organisations, the postal service.
Don’t Shoot The Messenger sees an unsuspecting gunman get more than he bargains for when he holds up a sleepy village post office.
For the tables are turned on him and the postmistress seizes the opportunity to educate.
From the Ancient Greeks to the age of Shakespeare, from the Victorian era to the digital age, written messages have been the cornerstone of civilised society.
And who could have known that when Henry VIII established the first postal service in 1516 (purely for his own convenience) that its evolution would herald so many associated innovations?
International trade, the beginnings of public transport, bank accounts for common people, instant messaging in the form of telegraphs, literacy itself.
Maeve Larkin has written this brand new show for the company. It takes the audience on a whistle-stop tour spanning six centuries.
Don’t Shoot the Messenger! is a celebration of the postal service; a homage, an elegy, a love letter if you like, to an institution which some feel is on the brink of extinction.
The story is told by four actors but features a cast of dozens. Mikron actors work hard for their audiences.
They promise an hilarious, mail-coach night-train ride through the history of the postal service complete with original songs and live music and just a smattering of mad-cap tomfoolery!
“What I love about Mikron, is the fact that we can perform just about anywhere, to anyone,” said the company’s Artistic Director, Marianne McNamara.
“I used to say that all we need is a plug socket and an audience, but having spent this year on allotments, with our show about their history, we’re down to just the audience!”
Don’t Shoot the Messenger!’ goes out on tour in late April and the company is keen to hear from any post office club, union or working men’s club that is interested in having Mikron Theatre perform.
The tour will be the company’s 42nd. The actors travel around the country’s inland waterways on a vintage narrowboat, Tyseley.
Its shows feature original music and are rooted in social history, telling the stories of ordinary people caught up in big events, in a way that is witty, fun and accessible.
The company will tour a second, newly commissioned show, Beyond the Veil.
This is a piece about bees and beekeeping with a murder mystery at its core.
There will be more on both shows later in the season.
For more details go to the company’s website, www.mikron.org.uk