Molly Taylor’s What was Left looks at what happens when young people are forced to grow up too quickly. When Soph, Sim and Dex’s grandmother dies they are thrown into a world where they are still children growing and understanding themselves and also adults forced to work and fend for themselves once the system that supports them no longer cares.
Each sibling has their own coping mechanisms; Soph finds comfort in no strings attached sex telling men on apps that she is a virgin, Sim’s comfort comes from his best friend and his undiscovered feelings for him and Dex, the youngest and more disturbed of the three finds comfort in drawing and a bird trapped in their loft.
The direction initially seems odd; a small play with an extended cast of Brit School graduates on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Bridge programme wants to ensure that all cast members get a chance to shine and what will be for many their first professional production but it allows the character to show multiple facets, characters when they are with friends, characters at school or work and characters when they think they are alone. It is well directed by Matt Hassall, who gradually introduces the one character played by multiple actors aspect and creates an atmosphere of them and us as the family fight against the world and circumstances they find themselves in.
Molly Taylor’s script is one of the few about young people that actually seems to be aimed at young people; she tackles self-harm, mental illness, sexuality and a sense of loneliness rarely seen. I found myself yearning for this to be produced at the Unicorn as it never patronised its audience (whatever their age) and I never found myself questioning whether that would happen. It felt like an open door into life for 16-21 year olds.
With this talented young cast it is nice to see The Bridge provide graduates with such a jump from students to actors. I don’t want to single out any particular cast member because this production isn’t about that, it is how they work as an ensemble; interpreting characters in their own way but also working as a group. They were well prepared and clearly talented and I look forward to seeing them all in future productions as well as looking out for the work of Molly Taylor, a talented young writer who embraces her audience, rather than alienate them
Tara Korda Kolar
What Was Left is on until 29 June 2019, in rep with The Sandman. Buy Tickets