Mayday Mayday

Tristan Sturrock

Theatre Damfino

Pleasance King Dome

From 02 August 2012 to 27 August 2012

Rating: *****

Review by Robin Strapp

Mayday Mayday is the personal true story of Tristan Sturrock who broke his neck falling of a wall in the Cornish town of Padstow during the May Day celebrations, which is the biggest day when the inhabitants celebrate the death of winter and the birth of summer.

The crowded Golden Lion is decorated with flowers and everyone is slowly getting drunk. As Sturrock eventually makes his unsteady way home up the zigzag 37 steps to Lobster Cottage where his pregnant wife is waiting for him, he stops to rest on a wall where he falls backward and is dangerously injured.

Sturrock tells of his journey by ambulance and then by airlift to Plymouth where he is put into the Moorgate HDU ward. Paralysed and with the fear that he would never walk again, he has to make some difficult choices as to his future.

This is a crafted performance told with emotion and warmth. In other hands this would be a tragic tale, but Sturrock manages to get the balance between pathos and comedy just right.

There is a wonderful scene when, high on drugs, he is told he is going to the theatre and he imagines the surgeon to be a camp, over-the-top actor preparing for a performance—hilarious stuff.

Thurrock thanks all the people who nursed him back to health and gives three cheers for the NHS whilst reminding the audience of the “fragility of us all.”

This was stunning theatre in the hands of a master storyteller.