I first saw this mesmerising and stunning piece of verbatim theatre back in June 2018 and this is a timely production two years on since the tragedy of the Manchester bombing where 22 people were killed, including Martyn Hett, at the Ariana Grande concert.
Adam Zane and Mike Lee’s play has now been revised and further developed. The two of them have been on an emotional journey with this exceptional cast headed by Joseph Carter as Mikey and Matthew Forey as Russell. The story of Martyn Hett – who so adored the character of Deirdre Barlow in Coronation Street that he had a tattoo of the actress Anne Kirkbride on his calf muscle – is told with great skill and affection.
This play remains fresh, charming, very funny and delightful and highlights that at times Martyn could be a nightmare, a ‘control freak’ but that he was adored for his various foibles. This is a vivid homage to a boy whose life was cut so dramatically short, but it is not morose. There is a wonderful sense of storytelling. The poignant use of recall with actual video footage remembering times and events, especially at Martyn’s home in Stockport, where he had created his own bar/club called The Frigg, and this emotional reminiscing showcased the value of friendship, self worth and bonding.
Zane’s stylised direction was masterful and achieved from this superb ensemble cast notably Carl Blakeley as Stuart and Bridget Gallagher as Hannah, Calum Scott as Alastair, Daniel Maley as Andrew, Chloe Proctor as Christina and lastly Sonia Ibrahim as Rachel. A story told with dignity, passion about what can be achieved when people unite for a common cause. This is a must see – and with the play heading for Brighton, Newcastle, Sheffield and Salford do check it out (www.hopetheatrecompany/be-more-martyn for venue details). Highly recommended.