If there is any amateur production fully deserving a five star review then it surely has to be The Lace Market Theatre’s current main stage production of Fin Kennedy’s How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found. The word ‘amateur’ in all its interpretations, doesn’t describe this fabulously good iteration. It is totally professional from the direction, the acting and to the impressive set, superb lighting and sound.
Guy Evans’s startling set design is a marriage of clinical hanging clear rubberised sheets that form theatricalised curtains on the stage that reflect the top-notch lighting design by David Billen. Billen’s lighting team, Allan Green, Eaton Thorley and Simon Carter are lighting and sound box magicians. The stage furniture is well chosen and simply wrought allowing for maximum quick changes of venue and mood. Darren Coxon’s multiple soundscapes and sound effect applications throughout the piece are a wonder to hear and a real professional credit to the piece that unfolds in all its dramatic absurdity.
This is a technically complex play, so easy to mess up and the skills of Nottingham’s The Lace Market Theatre technical teams ensure it never puts a foot wrong. Max Bromley’s costumes of hospital scrubs, doctor’s coats and other character defining costumery are well-considered choices that allow the play to unfold with practical ease. How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found is so well stage-managed you cannot see the joins.
Matthew Huntbach’s exemplary and creative direction uses every bit of the stage and beyond and his sterling dedication to this play and its players is subtly evident. His directorial generosity, and dare we say, genius, is amply rewarded with a highly professional (there’s that p word again) cast.
Fin Kennedy’s dramatic comedy utilises a cast of five actors. The emphasis is on the drama with some dark comedy thrown into the many layered cake mix for extra flavouring. It turns out to be a very tasty choice of play to present in this Winter/Spring programme and certainly a must-see before it closes on Saturday 15th January.
The cast consists of Chris Sims as Charlie/Adam, Charlie Osborne filling in at the very last minute as Sophie and Fraser Wanless as actor one, Emily Kelsey as actor two and Jame Goodliffe as actor three.
Sims totally owns the stage throughout the whole piece and is quite remarkable as he morphs into two characters in styles that vary from In Yer Face Theatre to Verbatim Theatre style dialogues as well as realistic and quasi-poetic text and natural exchanges. Like the alcohol and drug fuelled world his characters are part of – his playing of Charlie and Adam are addictive viewing. One might say – magnetically so.
The talented trio of Wanless, Kelsey and Goodliffe give us very realistic and often witty interpretations complete with authentic voicings of their myriad of personalities that haunt the mind and lives of Charlie and Adam. As Sophie, Charlie Osborne completes the cast with her assured depiction of hospital authority and mortician. Her brave choice of taking on the role after two other cast members have recently fallen victim to Covid is to be commended as the play may have had to be cancelled without her. We hear a lot in the professional world of how understudies, swings and covers have saved productions from closing and this just proves there is equal resilience and passion in the amateur world.
How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found is a true must-see production at The Lace Market Theatre and this very impressed reviewer recommends it highly. You will be blown away by the quality. In the director’s programme notes Matthew Huntbach begins; “What makes you who you are? A name? An address? A random collection of experiences? You are who you can prove you are. You are what people think. And that’s the easiest thing in the world to change… What circumstances would compel you to completely abandon your established life and identity in order to forge an entirely new one?” Compelling arguments are the joy of experiencing live theatre so please go and be thrilled by this before it disappears.
How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found is running at The Lace Market Theatre until Saturday 15th January 2022. Look out for special offers on the tickets.
Production images credit: Kathryn Edwards.