It’s astonishing to realise that this is only the second year of Headgate Young Company, following their inaugural production of Blue Stockings last year. They have been an immediate part of the local community theatre scene, and this brilliantly innovative and superbly produced production only enhances their reputation further. Fin Kennedy’s clever, emotive play concentrates on the disappeared, and those who turn up unidentified in mortuaries, as it follows the turbulent last few days of Charlie/Adam. It makes room for terrific ensemble work, and technical brilliance that makes this a new high standard at the Headgate, well done George Emberson, Daniel Farquharson and the team.
The movement and ensemble are disciplined, many of them playing more than one role. Zachary Askham is outstanding as Charlie, his life spiralling out of control, his overwhelming grief for his mother combating against drug and alcohol abuse, heart-breaking and involving. In a clever script twist, he assumes the identity of Adam, and the part is then picked up by Jordan Wright in another expertly matched performance. In conversations with his pathologist, Neave Matthews is excellent as Sophie, and Alfie Nester is very impressive as dodgy underworld dealer Mike. Truth is, there are no weak links, and although some of the dialogue tripped over itself in the second act, this was, perhaps, understandable youthful excitement!
Director Richard Bland has done an outstanding job bringing their class and workshop learning into practice, and the pace is fast moving, yet pauses and allows the play to breathe where necessary. I loved the way scenes repeated in the second half, yet from a different angle, and a lost property office not only creates a beautiful metaphor about umbrellas, but also underlines that Charlie/Adam is also lost property. A gorgeous, sumptuous feast of a production, long may HYC continue at this standard!