On entering the auditorium of the Everyman, the audience were greeted with a small car, racing around a track - the imagery portrays the isolated farmhouse in the middle of the M62 on which author Laurence Wilson based his play.
This is the house that three runaways break into after crashing their car. Mickey (Nick Moss), the trio’s leader, Sian (Rebecca Ryan), his heavily pregnant girlfriend and Jonesy (Kevin Trainor), who is autistic and earns their money by using his incredible skills to predict the pattern of fruit machines.
They assume from the state of the building and the awful smell emanating from within that it is is uninhabited. However, once Richard (Joe McGann) appears all becomes clear. Richard is hiding from society. After a visit from the bailiffs he has lost his collection of butterflies but still has jars of dead bees lining his shelves (and dead rats under his floorboards). He also has pamphlets and newspaper cuttings on society’s ills and feels he has had a lucky escape, being effectively cut off by the motorway.
After the initial misunderstandings and awkwardness, Richard really takes to Jonesy and Sian feels very comfortable with him too. However Mickey is all too eager to leave and be on their way - the police, he feels, are on their trail after Sian was subjected to a happy slapping incident which he responded to somewhat aggressively!
This play explores the different facets of human nature. Richard is fearful of what life will bring if he lets the outside world in, Mickey is mistrustful of everyone and everything, Sian is desperate to provide a stable life for her unborn baby but risks everything for Mickey and Jonesy gradually remembers why his family committed suicide and ‘left him behind’.
This is a wonderful piece of theatre. An incredible script which can be adapted to be current at any given time that it is performed. A simple but effective set. Strong acting from all four cast members, though Kevin Trainor deserves a special mention for remembering his lines and delivering them so perfectly.
Joe, as Richard, was a joy to watch. This mistrustful recluse didn’t want intruders but reached out to them despite his initial concerns. Quite different to any role I have seen Joe play before (and I would think a new challenge to him as an actor) this wasn’t the scene-stealing role -that had to be Jonesy - but Richard was the pivotal character who grew in stature throughout the evening. From initially being the startled homeowner to taking control as Sian is taken off to hospital at the play’s end, Joe was solid and reliable. Having him singing and playing the ukulele during the play was an added bonus.
A wonderful piece of theatre, this thoroughly deserves to be taken into London and I do hope it is picked up to enable a wider audience to see it.