In a normal teenage boy’s bedroom two normal teenage boys play computer games and drink cans of lager, all the while trying to push something far more sinister out of their minds: Jacob is dying.
In the opening part of the show the audience hear little of the raw emotion behind this most tragic of circumstances. Jacob is still fairly well, all things considered, and best friend Tommy is doing his best to keep him occupied and happy but they can’t stay like this forever and soon, as the cancer progresses, so too does the outpouring of guilt, remorse, anger and denial that comes with a terminal cancer diagnosis.
Jack Tricker (Jacob) and Evan Rees (Tommy) are outstanding from beginning to end, both believable in their grief and tear-jerking in their release of their individual feelings – that of the dying and of the left behind. Rees also provides some interspersed moments of humour with quick costume changes to take on the roles of Jacob’s mother and their “asbo” schoolmate, Josh. Both characters are hugely entertaining.
But ultimately there are few cheerful moments. The characters and audience alike are uncomfortably aware of what will happen as the play progresses from the initial planning of a funeral as a celebration of Jacob’s life to the stark realisation that he will never get to fulfil his hopes and dreams.
Writer and producer of this emotive piece, Conor Hunt, did not want the message to be about death though. Instead theatregoers are encouraged to see the positives of a strong friendship, of living for the moment and of that childlike quality teenagers hold onto that everything will turn out okay in the end.
It is gripping writing and duologue theatre at it’s very best. Hunt, Tricker and Rees have created a masterpiece which although might leave people crying, will essentially invite them to live life to the fullest.