deadkidsongs, based on the novel by Toby Litt, has been adapted and directed by Gary Sefton and the result is a bold, energetic, bloody and feral production through which the cast vault, climb and swing across the set as if caged primates.
Litt’s novel details a catastrophic episode in the lives of four boys; they are part of a fiercely organised gang whose leader is Andrew - their fun begins as innocent war games and turns into a plot of revenge and vindictiveness when one of them suddenly dies. It is macabre, dark, shocking and also deeply tragic.
The cast explode onto the set designed by Ti Green and the resulting action is a perpetual assault course of highly choreographed action interspersed with some compelling physical theatre and great performances, complemented by an excellent sound design and composition from Jon Nicholls
As Peter, Colin Ryan captures the essence of the young bespectacled boy with an honesty and tragedy that is truly compelling. The awkwardness of youth immediately overcome and maintained with great control and depth of emotion. This is sincerity and grasp of style is also evident in Kate Lamb’s Miranda, the sister of the dead Matthew who desperately wants to belong and taunts and vaults with the best of them; utterly convincing as an adolescent girl in a world of boys.
Leander Deeny creates a psychotic and terrifying Andrew who until a late challenge is an aggressive and bullying leader, much of his dysfunction borne from the continual emotional and physical abuse by his father whom the gang believe is the “Best Dad.”
This is a truly thought provoking story, high voltage action tempered with flashes of childish innocence, the added graphics and projection carry the brutality with great effectiveness and it remains a chilling, stark and utterly gripping story.