IN BRIEF Unravelling the truth in the aftermath of teenager’s suicide provokes questions, truth and lies in an engrossing and well-acted play
15-year old Sam committed suicide. Everyone’s blaming themselves; her mum, Thea- a prison chaplain who took drastic action to stem Sam’s out of control behaviour; Lenny, Sam’s ‘sort of’ boyfriend, a tall man-child often one step behind, who says they were “on a break”; and Lenny’s twin Billie who was Sam’s best friend – quietly smart and guarded. Not to mention Thea’s chance encounter with courier Gil, whose kindly exterior is far from the whole story.
All these characters have their secrets to hide and guilt to examine as the fallout from Sam’s suicide reverberates through the play’s 90-minute running time
It would be a shame to flag up all the twists and turns along the play’s journey; suffice to say that each of the characters’ journeys are fragmented and uneven, leading to a partial closure.
Claire Goose as Thea gives an intense and edgy performance which is both absorbing and very affecting. Navin Chowdhry as Gil plays his quiet role with a believable numbness which is still full of meaning. Will Fletcher as Lenny is rather more the comic relief of the play, his childish outpourings still effective. Rosie Day as Billie is well-cast as sparky but bruised Billie who is a lot more than she first appears to be.
Sarah Rutherford’s play is often tense, difficult and emotional, and runs long dialogue passages, but she cannily spots the most challenging dialogue passages with unflagged little lines of humour which act as tiny pressure valves in the writing. At other times the humour might occasionally seem a little uncomfortable (as in the scene with the ashes), but most of the time it works well.
This reflective play is by nature rather static, but the focus is on character here. The audience I was with were held from start to finish.
THE GIRL WHO FELL plays at Trafalgar Studios 2 until November 23rd. Details and tickets here