Remains

In a Bolton housing estate, one house stands out.  The fences are covered with ‘Missing’ posters of Lottie.  The door is open; it’s an open house to finally sell the place.  The two events are nine years apart but are inescapably linked.  Remains looks at the relationship between two young girls after their sister goes missing, and how they are living with the consequences.

This is a really strong piece of theatre in every way.  Alison Carr’s writing is sensitive, sparse and intelligent, leaving the audience to read between the lines to work out what actually happened.  The acting is impressive; Susan (Kathryn Blackburn) and Elle (Roya Amini) need each other, but as soon as they draw together they push each other away.  Susan’s scenes in front of her dressing table mirror are heartbreaking.  Present day Susan (Heather Carroll) follows them around, as if they were ghosts.  Jon (Rick Bithell) is frighteningly manipulative.

Set in a Bolton house that is up for sale, I saw this production at 2pm; the sound of real children returning from school haunts the street.  Perhaps we see their friends?  This is a brilliant example of how to make site specific theatre incredibly powerful; the environment is alive with the memories of the missing teenager.  The rooms could be your own daughter’s.  The man could be your dad’s friend.  Or your own friend.  It’s very real.  It’s very moving.  It’s just superb.

Part of Bolton Octagon’s Reveal Festival.   Runs till Friday 18 March.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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