What the papers say…

‘Michael Mears’ intensely moving, richly-textured one-man play THIS EVIL THING uses verbatim testimonies to form the script and a multi-layered soundscape for the aural backdrop against which he pays intelligent, sensitive homage to the conscientious objectors who fought their own war against war.
The CO’s story is still a tale rarely told, and rarely presented with this level of wisdom, perception, compassion and balance… but Mears does it admirably. One man, one act, few props; many scenes, multiple roles, numerous voices: This Evil Thing represents the great tradition of storytelling at its very best, and offers an up-close-and-personal insight into the human condition, for better or worse. It’s a revelatory tale indeed, sadly as relevant today as it was when Brocklesby fought his own war.’ Melissa Blease, THE BATH MAGAZINE Nov. 2018

‘How a lone actor with few props (the planks of wood are two small upturned drawers on which he balances) in the intimate drawing room of the Kempe Studio conjures such a visceral scenario is testament to Michael’s exemplary acting and his superbly crafted play … Michael switches seamlessly between his many roles: he’s a stretcher-bearer ducking fire on the front, a barking sergeant, a worried girlfriend, a troubled dad, an army officer, a philosopher, a politician, a campaigner… the effect is of a master storyteller at work’  Stratford-Upon-Avon Herald reviewing This  Evil Thing. 19th Jan 2017.  See full review here.

‘In this urgent and physical performance, Mears plays tribute to Bert Brocklesby – a schoolteacher who refused to bear armsand was silenced, starved and almost shot. Mears convincingly intersperses historical re-enactment with his own self-questioning, even asking what he would have done, had he been born at the time …  Mears himself is exhilarating to watch. He hares across the stage, convincingly being about four different men at once … This is a rich and personal modernisation of a lesser-told tale.’  This Evil Thing reviewed by The List 8th August 2016

Using real-life dialogue from such figures as Fenner Brockway and Bertrand Russell, Mears casts light upon a chapter of British history too often ignored, and raises some salient points about our responsibilities as individuals. Above all, we’re made to consider the terrifying results that occur when man falls out of line with popular consensus… Mears is an animated and engaging presence throughout, his faithful delivery of others’ words accommodating many a naturalistic flourish. Entertaining as his show may be, his gratitude and outrage remain very much to the fore. This is important, vital polemic.’ This Evil Thing reviewed by Lewis Porteous in Fest 6th August 2016

‘An actor both gifted and unselfish … Mears gives the most inventive reading of Malvolio’s letter scene since Olivier himself.’   The Observer – reviewing ATC’s production of Twelfth Night

‘The most vivid performance is from the chilling Michael Mears, as the wily puritanical and dangerous deputy.’  Evening Standard reviewing ETT’s The Herbal Bed

‘One exceptional man…’  The Observer

‘My best Festival show ever was a one-man show by Michael Mears called Tomorrow We Do The Sky.’ Miriam Margolyes interviewed by the Daily Telegraph in 2012

‘I marvel at Michael Mears’ ability…’      The Times on Tomorrow We Do The Sky

‘Seldom have I seen the subject of homelessness treated with such insight and compassion.’ The Scotsman – Fringe First Award Winner 1995 on Soup

‘This challenging, marvellously funny evening…epitomises the thrilling shock of the new that makes the Fringe consistently irresistible.’        Today on Soup

‘Mears’ performance is quite simply stunning, each character neatly and compassionately drawn.  The play is a moving, warm and intensely rich experience.’  The Stage – nominated for Best Actor, Stage Awards on Soup

 ‘Powerfully evocative, filled with humour and dignity…Mears takes you right there but you dare not look away.  With his lightning-quick changes and the face of an El Greco he shows us a part of life that there but for the grace of God…’  Time Out, London on Soup

‘In playing every part, Mears celebrates the art of acting and the multi-facetedness of the human personality and finally suggests that dereliction is just a crisis away from any one of us.’  The Independent on Soup

Mears is immensely talented at creating a character using minimal props…’   The Financial Times on Soup

Full of humour… marvellous character actor Michael Mears gives richly populated performances…’        Edinburghguide.com on Slight Tilt to the Left

‘Michael Mears is the Alec Guinness of afternoon drama.’       The Stage on Radio 4 solo drama

‘If talent were fame, Mears’ name would be in lights a mile high.’    Radio Times Radio 4 solo drama

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What to do…with my anger at events in the world?  What to do with my sorrow and sadness?  What to do with my frustration at politicians? What to do with the fury I feel towards the arms manufacturers who will be rubbing their hands in glee (though trying to remember not to do so in public)?  What to do with the voice inside me that wants to shout at the instigators of conflicts, this conflict and all conflicts in the world right now: ‘Have you forgotten the climate crisis?  Or do you simply not care?’

Our thoughts are with those, particularly the innocent, caught up in this and all conflicts.  There are many small things we can or could do.  Donations, financial or otherwise.  Prayers, vigils, protests.  Providing refuge.  And much more.  But for myself, the main thing I have decided, and this decision was taken weeks ago, before any actual invasion of Ukraine seemed likely, is to take my play THE MISTAKE – about Hiroshima and the first atomic bomb – to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year.  This is a risk for all kinds of reasons, but if not now, then when?  The subject matter has always seemed of the utmost importance.  But how could I know that in these grim times it would seem even more urgent and relevant?

So this will be my modest contribution to peace, justice and understanding in the world.  Next year I plan to take the play round the country more widely and get it into schools. 


There are two of us performing in the play.  I will portray numerous people involved in events preceding the dropping of the bomb – in particular, one of the scientists involved, Leo Szilard, who did all he could to stop the bomb being deployed and subsequently worked for peace and disarmament.  And an English-speaking female Japanese performer will portray a young woman who survives the blast and then goes in search of her parents in the devastated city. Some verbatim testimonies are used in the play.    

If you know of anyone going to the Festival this August or have any friends or family there or nearby we would greatly welcome their support.  The play runs from Aug 5-27 (not 14th) at Venue 36, the Space on North Bridge, Edinburgh, at 10.45 in the morning.  There will also be performances in London at some point which I will let you know about.  Should anyone wish to contribute something, however small, to our crowd-funding for this non-profit making venture, it would be most gratefully received – but with so many other demands on people’s pockets, I don’t expect it.                                         

The play’s title refers to the inscription on the memorial to the victims of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima Peace Park.  ‘Rest in peace, for the mistake will not be repeated.’   We have to do whatever we can, in whatever way we can, to ensure that the mistake will indeed NOT be repeated.   

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