There’s an omnipresent sense of danger lurking somewhere underneath the surface of Blister. The lighting, in its contrasting states of either a dim yellow or eye-achingly bright white is unsettling and, staged in traverse, leaves us constantly on edge. Fragments of furniture – a couple of car seats, a few battered plastic chairs and ripped cardboard boxes – make up the fractured world in which this story unfolds. It’s a dim, gritty, crumbling place. Only the swirl of deep burnt orange and cream marked on the floor, spiralling out from its centre, depicts a more ordered chaos.

Blister is carefully directed. The cast navigate the intimate setting of the Gate Theatre with ease, and direction from Stef O’Driscoll sees them make full use of all of the stage’s crevices. No moment of this production is wasted on needless movement – even a series of split second tableaux set to a loud, pacey soundtrack reveals snippets of their lives. A subtle glance, a sharp turn away or some brief moments entwined add a new dimension to a play that doesn’t offer up much in the way of plot.

Laura Lomas’s text focuses far more on the emotional connections of its seven characters, and the impact that one horrific event has had on their lives: how it has moulded their relationships and helped carve their future decisions. However, despite its gritty aesthetic and tragic origin, this tale isn’t overwhelmingly negative. There is a semblance of compassion and forgiveness that reigns over the darkness and its sentimental ending is nicely conveyed in a moving conclusion, which sees lighting designer Sam Griesser’s effects complement Ashley’s (Jay Worley) philosophical speech.

Tessie Orange-Turner’s character Lisa, who is arguably at the heart of this tragedy, is given life as an endearingly naïve and carefree young woman before the events. Orange-Turner draws on a markedly different personality for the Lisa of the present however: calm yet slightly wary, she shows remarkable strength in the face of adversity. It brings a refreshingly hopeful and uplifting message to a tale of hardship.

Danny Mellor presents a raw and honest version of Liam. Pained by his past decisions from the outset, Mellor gives an open, inviting performance that allows us to witness Liam’s grief and remorse. Becky (Mari Izzard) has also been deeply affected. Izzard’s sharp changes in manner and tone and affecting emotional outpouring line up well with the actions of a traumatised young girl who is following her heart rather than her head.

The relationship between Charlie (Rebecca Durbin) and Davey (Robin Willingham) brings light relief with Willingham delivering humour in his portrayal of a slightly awkward young man who doesn’t appear to always think before he speaks.

Blister is playing at the Gate Theatre until 11 April. For more information and tickets, see the Gate Theatre website.