Capital Fringe Review: ‘Marsha’ by Mike Spain

Marsha is both brilliantly written and performed and also quite disturbing. Alan Harris’ short play is about a kidnapped child who takes the same walk around her Welsh village, everyday, and she takes the audience along with her. Harris and Julia Thomas co-direct.

'Marsha' playwright Alan Harris.
‘Marsha’ playwright Alan Harris.

The minimal set is quite effective consisting of four lights on the floor which cut off a corner where Marsha (Julia Thomas) sits Indian style. It is the only clue the audience gets that Marsha is ‘caged’. The set also has a bucket half-filled with water and a tape recorder. Marsha also uses a flashlight as a prop.

Tom Elstob sets the mood as soft, trance-like music greets the audience as they enter the small and intimate Fort Fringe Bedroom. Dialog about Cain and Abel from the bible joined the music. Sound plays such an important role in the play with Marsha playing sounds, songs, and talking from the tape recorder, and even the rare moments of static added to the atmosphere. Isobel Howe does a fine job with the lighting, as light was used sparingly, as most of the show was dimly. lit Small floor lights and a flashlight are also effectively used.

Julia Thomas shines in her role as Marsha as you can see the pain in her face as she takes the audience along with her on her daily journeys to visit Ms. Hall at the store, Farmer MacDonald at the farm, and meeting baby Miriam with Stuttering John and his wife. Here transitioning from one character to another is quite impressive.

Without giving away the plot twists – truths are discovered – all told in a classic ‘horror’ style.

There is a lot packed into 50 minutes. You can see and feel what Marsha calls, “the added pain of a different journey everyday.”

Running time: 50 minutes.

Marsha plays through July 20, 2013 at Fort Fringe – The Bedroom – 612 L Street, NW, in Washington, DC. For performance information and to purchase tickets, go to their Capital Fringe page.



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