[star rating =5/5]
16-year-old Daniel Spargo-Mabbs died in 2014 after taking a lethal dose of MDMA (ecstasy) at a rave. He would have been 21 this year.
Playwright MARK WHEELER worked closely with his family and friends to create I Love You Mum – I Promise I Won’t Die; a piece of verbatim theatre written from the testimonies of his loved ones and titled with the last words Daniel said to his mother, Fiona, before he died.
The result is a powerful, and emotional piece of writing produced with the aim of educating teenagers about the dangers of drug use; a work with depth, touching on the importance of friendship, family and love whilst growing up.
A young cast from budding company, Lloyd Theatre Arts, West Yorkshire, bring Wheeler’s play to its debut at Edinburgh Fringe Festival in a heartfelt production directed by PAUL CHEWINS that touched the eyes of many audience members, and received a standing ovation from a packed crowd on the second afternoon of its run.
The event’s leading up-to and beyond Dan’s death is retold from different points of view; giving insight into the young man’s personality, and his important contribution to the lives of those around him.
It’s clear from the emotive performances that the young cast have connected with Dan’s story.
In particular, the movement ensembles from the group show particular strength in conveying the unity of Dan’s peers in their roles. Their physical bond emphasises the understanding that each of the individuals could just have easily have been singled out by the unfortunate death.
Dan is represented by multiple cast members at different times, who assume his role by wearing a blue zipped hoody and allow his presence within the play.
Many of the young dramatics shone in their roles, but in particular those cast members who played close friends Jack (OSCAR CLEAVER) and Alice (ELLA FOSTER), had an important impact on conveying the great loss of life caused by this unfortunate incident.
Set, sound and lighting were all utilised simply and effectively to move the piece seamlessly from different places to different points of view.
The Daniel Spargo-Mabbs Foundation commissioned Mark Wheeler’s play in the hope that the play would be studied and performed in schools across the UK and further afield. It shares an important message for young people about the risks of substance abuse and experimentation, and this production by Lloyd Theatre Arts does this heavy piece of text the justice it deserves.
Here for just one week – take your tissues.