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The Lost Boy review at St Mary’s Creative Space, Chester – ‘beautifully crafted’

Andrei Costin in The Lost Boy at St Mary's Creative Space, Chester. Photo: Mark Carline

A frightened Syrian boy fetches up in a seaside town that has seen better days, and encounters a hostility born as much of circumstance as prejudice. Though The Lost Boy, a new play by Stephanie Dale, writer of the 2013 Chester Mysteries, was in development before Brexit happened, it couldn’t be more pertinent.

Frank (Jonathan Markwood), an ex-trawlerman, is about to lose his “poxy” job in a chip shop to a foreigner who’ll do it cheaper. In a rabble-rousing speech to protestors, his cry is: “Our town. With our people”.

Meanwhile, his wife, Claire (Victoria Brazier), is trying to boost people’s spirits with a community choir that will perform at Christmas. Their teenage daughter, Maddie (Jill McAusland), befriends Karem, the boy of the title, and finds her attitudes changing.

The play encompasses video testimony from real asylum seekers, in collaboration with the charity, City of Sanctuary. The results could have been preachy but they’re not. A Peter Pan motif runs through the story and Karem is able to summon up the faces using his haunting powers as a Syrian singer, which makes it very accessible to a younger audience.

As Karem, Andrei Costin, fresh from a starring role in The Kite Runner, gets right under the character’s skin.

Theatre in the Quarter specialise in putting work into exciting places and the chancel of the intimate St Mary’s space perfectly accommodates Dawn Allsopp’s seaside jetty set. It looks as if it has washed by centuries of tides

 

Verdict
A beautifully crafted and pertinent new play featuring testimony from real asylum seekers

Production

Production
The Lost Boy
Venue
St Mary’s Creative Space
City
Chester
Starts
April 21, 2017
Ends
May 7, 2017
Press night
April 25, 2017
Authors
Stephanie Dale
Director
Kate McGregor
Musical director
Matt Baker
Set
Dawn Allsopp
Lighting
Julie Kearney
Sound
Max Lynch, Erin Elston
Technical
Julie Elston (company manager)
Stage manager
Sam Cheadle
Production manager
Mike Dunn
Cast includes
Victoria Brazier, Andrei Costin, Jonathan Markwood, Jill McAusland
Producer
Theatre in the Quarter
Running time
1hr 15mins