Best Foot Forward Review

Youth Hostel Association York – 30 March 2017.  Reviewed by Michelle Richardson

The award winning Mikron Theatre Company bought their latest production, Best Foot Forward to York this week with a showing at YHA in York on Thursday evening.

Now in their 46th year they provided theatre anywhere for everyone by canal, river and road, they are based in Marsden, West Yorkshire. This year sees the company touring 2 brand new productions with 4 actor musicians. Best Foot Forward, a hike through the history of hostelling, written by Maeve Larkin, being the first, with In At The Deep End opening in May.

This is about the YHA, concentrating on the fictitious Pearling Manor, and the fight to keep the ramshackle, or should I say shabby chic, hostel open. We are taken through the history of the YHA, starting in 1911 by a German teacher turned soldier, through to reaching Britain in the 1930s, covering foot and mouth which decimated the countryside and then on to the present day.

The 4 actors, Rose McPhilemy, James McLean, Claire-Marie Seddon and Craig Anderson proved themselves to be very adaptable, switching from various roles to singing and playing various musical instruments. They all worked well together and I certainly believed in all their characters and the interaction with one another, even the budding romance between Guy and Tiff. I especially enjoyed the first song, The Object, with the motto “to help all, especially young people of limited means”, and Wainwright Appreciation Society, which had the audience chuckling along.

This is the first year that they have played YHA, but this year they are performing in 12 of them throughout the country, as well as allotments, churches and community centres. To see the production at York YHA was a privilege and very fitting. It reminded me of how great hostelling is, the last time I went to one was about 12 years ago in Berlin with hubby and 2 children in tow, fantastic value.

I absolutely loved the whole show. It was funny, entertaining and basically just a lovely story. Best Foot Forward and Mikron’s forthcoming show In At The Deep End are touring throughout the UK for the rest of the year. Please try and get to see it, especially if you have experienced hostelling before, and hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I did.

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