All But Gone is the second show in The Other Room’s Lovesick season and Dan Jones’ debut production as the venue’s Artistic Director. This new play by Matthew Trevannion explores love and loss through the eyes of the young and old.
The opening scene is Kai breaking into Owen’s house in the middle of the night. Kai, played beautifully by Callum Hymers, is a young misfit who has been excluded from mainstream school and targets Owen as easy prey. Owen sees something in the young man and takes him under his wing. Meanwhile, Owen is struggling with his memory and snippets of his past are interwoven into his present.
Kai and Owen become friends with Kai helping Owen with shopping and helping around the house, as Owen becomes more and more introverted and lost in his memories. Wyn Bowen Harries plays Owen with a sense of pathos from the start. As the truth of his story unfolds, Bowen Harries becomes more withdrawn and laden with sadness. We learn that Kai’s grandfather, Howell used to be friends with Owen and this triggers all of his memories crashing in on him at once.
Wyn Bowen Harries and Daniel Graham
Elin Phillips, Callum Hymers, Nicola Reynolds and Wyn Bowen Harries
Daniel Graham as Howell brings a sensitive and moving portrayal of a man torn between love and loss. There is also comedy in the work with Nicola Reynolds providing some light relief to proceedings in her comic portrayal of Olwyn, the do gooding, know it all matriarch of the town.
The set by Carl Davies is Owen’s house in minute detail including a working tap. The set is impressive but it felt like the play would have been better served with a less naturalistic setting. The period costumes were also impressive and took us right back thirty years.
There is some clever and funny writing in this play, but I feel it could have pushed deeper in exploring Owen and Howell’s relationship.
The story is a tragic one. Owen is left living a life with fading memories of the love that he once had with Howell. All the characters are marred by loss. Yes, this play is about love and loss but it is also about more than that. It is about two people who could not be open about their love and who both choose different paths to reconcile their feelings.
The central themes of the play are interesting and treated in a sensitive way, but the whole production could have gone further in examining the impact of having to keep your love secret. Everyone in the play loses out to that love, but it is Owen and Howell that pay the hardest price.
Until 14th April 2018