Lost Monsters (Liverpool)
Venue: Everyman Theatre
Playwright Laurence Wilson’s second full length play looks into the lives of four characters who each have something to offer to the complicated world we all live within.
The former Everyman writer-in-residence returns to the theatre with new play Lost Monsters which opens debate on life and compares human behaviour with the bee, after he became inspired by David Attenborough’s BBC nature documentary Life in the Undergrowth.
Lost Monsters captivates its audience from the start. The play opens with a toy car whizzing around within an open suitcase on a small model set of a road circulating an old house. Street Furniture’s bass driven music complements Simon Daw’s instantly recognisable set - a disused, dingy unkempt home with a chilly atmosphere seeping from beneath the dusty floor boards.
Nick Moss is reunited to Wilson’s work after appearing in his first play Urban Legend at the Everyman five years ago. He plays Scouser Mickey with a sense of the tough hard-man act but also shows a soft and caring nature to the character. He’s streetwise and filled with self-importance and dreams of escaping to the bright lights of Las Vegas.
Rebecca Ryan as his pregnant teenager girlfriend Sian shows glimpses, particularly when swearing, of her most known role as Debbie in Channel 4’s Shameless, but really impressed with a representation of a young rebelling middle-class girl whose appearance not only resembles a ladybird look, with red and black striped tracksuit top and socks, but it added to her character’s arty outlook.
Kevin Trainor as Jonesy shines amongst a talented ensemble. He brings great energy and an incredible memory to his autistic character, particularly as he recites the different types of bees to his two fellow runaway friends.
With an obsession for all things sweet from sugar to the honey producing insect, Jonesy is a special human being used for his skills at “milking fruit machines”. He asks the recluse Richard, who’s crumbling home the three runaways have invaded following their car breaking down: “Why can’t people be more like bees?”
Liverpool’s Joe McGann has a magical presence as the long bearded Richard from the moment he first appears as a hooded figure, closing the suitcase on the model set, to the effortless ease he opens cans of food for his guests. “Because bees are simple creatures,” he explains to Jonesy. “They have none of the sophisticated problems that hinder humanity.”
Richard is a divorcee and also eccentrically obsessed with bees but recognises the strengths and weaknesses of his three new friends almost to the point of controlling them.
Scenes such as the re-enactment of BBC’s Mastermind between McGann and Trainor or the “Jonesy Bee Dance” have audiences in stitches of laughter and are cleverly done by director Matt Wilde.
Underneath the humour, however, Lost Monsters beautifully asks more questions on society and the world we inhabit.
* Photograph taken by Helen Warner