The Secret Collector, Greenside, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Byteback Theatre
Rachael Ash and Mary O'Neill (co-directors), Kailey McGowan (writer and stage manager), Karen Barnes (producer), Dave Stevenson (lighting design), Anthony Briggs (artwork)
Eilidh Brailey (Lydia), Laura Brook-Smith (Boat woman), Amy Clarke (Mother), Oliver Daley (Postman John), Oliver Isherwood (Dave), Carrie McGowan (Dawn), Molly McPherson (Miss Entwistle),Caitlin Rice-Jones (Alex), Lauren Saddington (Boat woman), Brydie Service (Evie), Elenya Tofalis (The sister), Matthew Warren (Jack), April Wells (Charlotte)
Running time

On an island community where life seems perfect, one resident makes a point of looking beyond the idyllic exteriors of his neighbours. In a bid to rationalise his own human frailties, he becomes a gatherer of gossip and thus the powerful holder of knowledge.

There is a gentle, tender feeling from the 12-strong group as they move in soft clothes holding weighted red balloons - the symbol of their secrets. Their utopian life is narrated in words, mime and movement. But in their presence is the sinister Jack (Matthew Warren) who has it in his personal interest to know what goes on behind closed doors and exploit that leverage. He coldly bursts balloons, exposing hypocrisy; jealousy; the vicarious living of the lonely; drug dealing; domestic abuse and the angst of unrequited love. When his baby sister arrives, he is as detached as the words of the Patsy Cline classic "Is that all there is?" except Jack does not dance.

Warren gives a cool, assured performance as the hard headed and clear eyed Jack, holder of the darkest secret of all. His role as narrator is augmented by the talented chorus, either verbally or in the form of mime that adds a beautiful dimension to this absorbing and insightful play from the young Lancashire company. It has been astutely and sensitively written by Kailey McGowan who manages to cover adult issues without either tipping into salaciousness or straying to areas unsuitable for a young audience.

This is a young company that is full of promise with plenty of young performers well worth the watching.

Age suitability 12+
4-8 August
10.30 am