The highly relatable, heartfelt comedy Lost Boys, by award-winning Formby playwright Luke Barnes is brought to the Unity Theatre. Directed by Zoe Laffery, the cast of the National Youth Theatre enlighten audiences by putting on a performance that addresses issues of mental health, gender stereotypes, identity, and the struggles of growing up in a new northern town.
The cast offer a strong collaborative performance throughout, providing the perfect combination of humour as well as emotional and gritty stories, a key tool in maintaining the audiences engagement. The talented cast showed their multi-skilled abilities by not only acting, singing and dancing but even playing instruments creating a live band on stage throughout the performance.
Particular stand-out performances came from Jenna Sian O’Hara, the upbeat bouncy blonde who’s energy was infectious, and who offered moments of humour in all the right places. Kwame Owusu offered an honest and visceral insight into the complex mind of a teenage boy struggling to assert himself within his relationship when admitting the complicated entanglement he has with pornography. Eoin McKenna took the audience on a journey of the inside battles of trying to fit in to a society that he feels that he doesn’t belong, highlighting moments of isolation, oppression and loneliness, a particular notion to the battles within mental health issues. His powerful voice represented an inward passion and love for life that his character was so longing to hold on to and rediscover.
The staging provided the perfect picture of the new northern town, with a changeable light up flooring that mapped out the city streets. The staging blocks were both practically and aesthetically purposeful, cleverly designed to appear like high rise flats and buildings, an absolute credit to the set designer Jasmine Swan.
At moments the acting was to an incredibly high standard and it’s very easy to forget how young some of talented performers are.
Lost boys goes beyond an entertaining piece of theatre, it represents the new generation of people who are screaming out for change through art. With the current epidemic regarding mental health issues and male suicide, this performance encourages people to speak out and ask for help, an important and crucial message that resonates throughout.
My one criticism would be that the performance is too long, an hour and 50 minutes without an interval is quite taxing to remain seated for. This however does not deter the impact of the show, and the upbeat punchy original songs soon picked up everyone’s engagement with the piece, as well as their hands for ruckus applause afterwards.
If you want to catch this highly powerful, truthful performance its showing from the 4th- 11th of September at the Unity Theatre Liverpool. A performance that should be seen by every teenager and adult dealing with their own struggles in today’s current society. Lost Boys has an important message that any one can learn from and find relatable.