by Jackie Kay music by Errollyn Wallen..
Number One First Street M1 5DE To 7 July 2012.
Mon-Thu; Sat 7.15pm Fri 5.15pm & 8.15pm Mat Sat 2.15pm.
BSL Signed 27 June 30 June 2.15pm.
Runs 1hr 50min No interval.
TICKETS: 0161 200 1500.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 18 June.
Souls in the city given value and significance.
First, is there a street? This site itself is slightly surreal, approached by car park or pathway. A street’s all that’s missing around this new municipal building – its address proclaimed from the 5th floor, where audiences are transported by lift for Manchester Lines.
It’s easily disorientating. So it’s natural to find a Lost Property office awaiting. Everyone declares something lost, from a wallet to their youth. A corridor, with forms from previous performances pinned on boards, and holiday postcards – places people went to lose themselves for a week or two – leads to the lost property store where we sit and watch the action around and among us.
John Branwell’s Keeper sits as people pop from walls, and a dumb-waiter, looking for something. A serial brolly-loser seems dependent on his visits. A young woman seeks to lose her life, but wants to leave a form, anonymously, with Lost Property. Another’s losing her sense of self, attacked by dementia.
People meet, leading to an exhilarating improvised dance competition. And Jessie, her mental connections crumbling, finds her daughter over a cup of tea, long before we eventually locate her in her mid-life, before loss of mind and family.
Placing realities within unreality, writer Jackie Kay’s occasionally effortful in her puns, but far more frequently affecting with her interest in characters, catching life as both concrete and insubstantial. Her strength lies in encapsulating experiences in striking, yet natural images or incidents.
And Wils Wilson’s production, which designer Amanda Stoodley has surrounded with stacked shelves of brollies, bags and other lost/found items, has her usual mix of detailed environment and human focus. Whether in a Huddersfield house, an old boxing-club in Sheffield or a Watford department store, Wilson consistently engages with the relationship between people’s emotions and their surroundings.
By the time we leave the tight-packed, low-roofed office to look over late-evening Manchester, a community choir singing a lost property alphabet while Branwell reads samples from this evening’s items, the script and production’s detail and precision, with the skilled performances, have made the experience communal and enlivening, in tune with its larger location.
Eugene: John Branwell.
Pauline: Claire Brown.
Shanti: Amelia Donkor.
Arnold: Dominic Harlan.
Anna: Bettrys Jones.
Jessie: Anne Kidd.
Omar: Tachia Newall.
Louis: Marcquelle Ward.
Director: Wils Wilson.
Designer: Amanda Stoodley.
Lighting: Anna Barrett.
Sound: Peter Rice.
Musical Director: Dominic Harlan.
Movement: Lesley Hutchison.
Assistant director: Joshua Azouz.