Sarah Rutherford’s exploration of the aftermath of a teenage suicide boasts impressively nimble dialogue.
The death of 15-year-old Sam leaves doubt and a difficult grieving process for Sam’s mother, her boyfriend, her best friend and one stranger.
As Sam’s mother Thea, Claire Goose plays a woman who has been utterly emptied. She’s a prison chaplain, but is unable to picture where her daughter is now, and is convinced of her own culpability. Navin Chowdhry brings a disarming energy to Gil, drawn to Thea in an ice-cream shop. As the twins who were Sam’s best friend and boyfriend respectively, Rosie Day scatters facts about the place as she weaves around the stage on a single strap-on rollerskate, while Will Fletcher manages not to overdo his enjoyably slack-jawed, dopey physicality.
Hannah Price’s direction manages the play’s abrupt tonal shifts from snappy and jokey to grim, but is hampered by the numerous reveals in Rutherford’s play. There are more narrative twists than are necessary – all the new things we learn about these characters begin to feel slightly silly. The gradual dismantling of Georgia de Grey’s picture-frame cottage set and the periodic use of anonymous, scratchy dubstep don’t quite gel together either.
Though there isn’t enough time to delve fully into the deterioration of the mother-daughter relationship or to explore the ambivalence felt towards religion by some characters, this is frustrating, precisely because Rutherford’s instincts and strengths as a writer are so apparent.