at the Drum Theatre, Plymouth

‘You get angry because you want to be loved’ Ems Coombes reviews Adult Child, Dead Child at the Drum Theatre, Plymouth

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at the Drum Theatre, Plymouth

Adult Child, Dead Child, which as at the Drum Theatre, Plymouth, is a beautiful yet dark tale of a child’s journey living with mental health issues. Set in the round and from the child’s perspective, the play tells a truthful yet harrowing account of a split personality.

The main character is played by all 16 of the cast and each company member is partnered by another, symbolising the relationship that she has with ‘Benji’ her ‘invisible friend’.

The award-winning monologue by Claire Dowie was bought to life by the direction of Kevin Johnson, who used the concept of the ‘constant child’ throughout, this was enhanced by the fantastic scenery (also by the Theatre Royal’s stage management team in the People’s Company) – the Drum Theatre was transformed into an abandoned school yard, climbing frames, toys, debris – dead leaves were strewn throughout, and the company were dressed in different school uniforms.

The only bad word I have to say was that at times it was difficult to hear the speech, but when performing in the round, a difficult setting at the best of times, that is always a worry.

This play showed the confusion, guilt and lack of understanding that arises from this illness. It was an emotive and empathetic performance that had me on the verge of waterworks.

Read the Adult Child, Dead Child cast blog

Ems Coombes

Ems Coombes is director of Strictly Collaborative, Plymouth's inclusive theatre company for disabled and non disabled 13-19 year olds