Playwright Reviews Student Performance!

13th December 2017

Our performing arts students recently took to the stage to perform a play written by Mark Wheeller. The words of the title, “I Love You, Mum – I Promise I Won’t Die”, were the last spoken by sixteen-year-old Daniel Spargo-Mabbs to his mother. In January 2014, Daniel’s parents thought he was going to a friend’s house. He actually attended an illegal rave and later died after taking Mdma. That fateful evening is told through the words of his school friends and family.

We are so proud of our students who, after just one term with us, dealt with a challenging script and theme in a mature and professional way! Don’t just take our word for it. The playwright himself was in the audience and produced a rave review, which can be read below!

Review by the playwright: I Love You, Mum – I Promise I Won’t Die.
A production by Richard Taunton Sixth Form College

“How wonderful for me to travel under five miles to see an impressive college production of one of my more recent plays. Thank you for putting it on with such sensitivity and compassion. You could tell the students had real ownership over the production… just as I like. Fab!  Real credit to the two directors Rob Collier and Jo Landles.

The first part was in the round. The second end on. They became to separate parts of the same story… which of course they are. I loved this idea. The representation of Dan, (particularly in the final scene of the second play where he became a puppet with three masters, all of whom voiced him) has become the iconic “mannerism” of the play. Here it was highlighted beautifully and with much skill.  

My star of the show was Rosie Mellett as Hope.  Utterly outstanding. Totally believable, full of energy and such clarity. A memorable performance… here’s someone for StopWatch to look out for in the future!
The energy of the first part was impressive kicking off with the rave and interesting “moves”, reminiscent of Frantic (I’m always a bit too literal to allow these to work… but Richard Taunton mastered this wonderfully) to establish the atmosphere right from the start!  

The cast really drove through the lines and maintained the pace allowing for some wonderful moments of contrast. The funny lines stood out and received good “out loud laughs”… not easy in a play that is so real and “respectful”.

Alice’s powerful interview was played brilliantly. It was odd watching it with some time separating me from the actual event of conduction the interview and I found my mind flitting between the play and the real events. Milly Channell played me beautifully.  Nicely underplayed but cutting in and reminding everyone that this was in fact based on interviews and full of concentration I would be proud to have!  

The supporting cast stayed in role, even when off stage, their reactions added to the intensity!  

My one criticism was that, occasionally performers over emoted. It’s a difficult thing to judge and I know I tend to go to the other extreme of holding it all in… that’s something to have a think about.

In the second play the amazing thing was how alike Kyle Simmons was to the real Tim. All of us who know Tim commented on that. Tim would have loved to see this performance. I can’t imagine this will happen that often!  

Fiona has to carry the play and Charlotte King did a grand job. There’s a lot to remember and a massive depth of emotion. Well done.  I want to also mention Jacob who I particularly enjoyed interviewing on my memorable first day in Croydon.  I love hearing his words.. the “just tucked my shirt in”  line typify what I love about his words Hannah Lockwood represented him perfectly! Once again, I liked the way they kept Jenna’s family on stage while Tim and Fiona were in hospital.  They were reacting as though they had just heard the news adding significantly to the intensity of the hospital scene.

Rachael and I had different views about the fact they announced each section by number and title. I loved it… she didn’t. Can’t please everyone eh?

Finally, I would like to sing the praises of my assistant at RSCoYT who was also in the original OYT production who offered her services to both casts. What a wonderful assistant she has been to me… and clearly to them… its fabulous for her to have all these things on her CV. Well done Alysha!

Thanks very much all of you at  Richard Taunton. It really was a tremendous production or pair of productions that you should be very proud of.”