In Original Impact’s production of Megan Jenkins’ Gone, different narratives from different times in history appear to centre around one park and its habit of making people disappear. Directed by Olivia Stone, the stories first appear to be unrelated, but as this dark play progresses, the pennies begin to drop.
One camping group’s ghost story about a lost little girl called Maisy becomes one mother’s (Emma Farrow) inescapable nightmare. Farrow’s unflinching performance raises this production up, as she makes her character’s pain tangible for the audience. The narrative layers present in this play all run parallel to each other, but some are definitely more sinister than others. James Russell Morley’s moments in the spotlight are most interesting, as he has you choking from laughter one minute before holding your breath from suspense in the next. His comedic performance makes Gone bearable, otherwise it might all be a little too doom and gloom.
The rest of the cast (Alexandria Anfield, Will Henry, Dinos Psychogios, Elicia Moon Murphy and Katie Turner), each explore a different piece of the theatrical puzzle. From the neighbour everyone is suspicious of because he’s a little too friendly, to the ignorant wife who dismisses her husbands strange behaviour as an irritating trait suggestive of the male sex. When one character is telling their story, the others illustrate it with creative choreography, which breaks up the monologue-heavy nature of the piece.
The show’s staging is simple, with much of its lighting design coming from handheld torches that the characters wield (this is a good play for anyone who likes having a torch shone in their face). Since so much of the play is set outside at night in a park, it makes sense that the cast are all sporting anoraks. However, the constant manipulation of them between scenes means that the play’s only real sound effect, bar a little music, is the grating rustle of weather-proof clothing.
After months of research and development, this is the first time that Original Impact have staged and performed Gone. This in-depth research has paid off, with several scenes playing into themes of Charles Perrault’s dark fairy tales – especially Bluebeard – which, unfortunately, has a rather weak link to the plot. Nonetheless, Gone is an interesting thriller with clever, intertwining narratives performed by a talented young cast. Together, they explore how in difficult times some talk too much, and how others don’t say nearly enough.
Gone is playing the Lion and Unicorn until 26th August 2018. For more information and tickets, see here.
Photo Credit: Original Impact Theatre Company