The Liverpool Everyman
25th September – 6th October 2018
Reviewed by Jennifer Walker
Photograph by Sheila Burnett
Alice Sebold’s novel, The Lovely Bones, became the bestseller everyone was talking about. It went on to be depicted in Peter Jackson’s film, again another success.
The Everyman Theatre now has another triumph, as The Lovely Bones has been adapted for the stage by Bryony Lavery. The story of 14-year-old Susie Salmon, who was brutally raped and murdered, before watching over her family from ‘junior heaven’ in the aftermath, as they slowly unravel and eventually rebuild after her death.
Susie is played to perfection by Charlotte Beaumont, both the narrator and child in flashback scenes from her life. She is onstage throughout the entire show, stuck in a salt marked square, both painfully and proudly watching as her families lives continues without her.
Director Melly Still facilitated Beaumont in wonderfully capturing the lost feeling, overseeing everything but not being able to reach out. Beaumont was outstanding in capturing that innocent age in the 70s, long before the danger of paedophiles and murderers was as publicized as it is today. She captured a 14-year-old girl on the cusp of adolescence brilliantly; her performance was tragically beautiful and really pulled at the heart strings.
Jack Sandle and Emily Bevan both really shone playing Jack and Abigail, the parents of murdered schoolgirl Susie. Sandle personified anger and rage; a Dad wanting so desperately to find the man responsible for his daughter’s death, in this, Sandle was simply flawless. Bevan’s performance as Abigail was haunting, playing the lost, empty vessel of a grieving mother, she was magnificent, you could almost feel her pain.
The whole cast was wonderful, each playing multiple roles, and showing without a doubt, that as much as this is a play about a murdered girl, it is just as much about living as it is death. Each character struggles and strives to move past that defining moment in their lives, proving that old cliche – life goes on.
Special mention must be made to the set designer Ana Ines Jabares – Pita, the show is worth seeing for the ingeniously thought out set alone! As well as capturing a street of houses, a cornfield, an underground den, houses and schools, a large angled mirror at the back of the stage allowed the audience to see things literally from a different point of view, perhaps even the angle from heaven?
This latest offering of The Lovely Bones is simply a must see! You won’t be disappointed.