School productions of #iloveyoumumplay

“Just a note to say thank you and well done for your inspiring performance this afternoon. I think the most important things are first that the audience were given a life-changing, perhaps life saving, experience, and second that you have really helped make someone’s shortened life somehow have lasting value.  Time to reflect.  Drama should be that important.”

“I just wanted to say well done to you, the cast and all involved in this evening’s wonderful performance. A tragic story that was sensitively portrayed and performed, and such important messages for students and parents.”

“I have never walked out of the theatre with everyone quiet and sobbing . My stomach was sick ! The saddest most tragic story ever. The whole cast were incredible, Yaz broke my heart she was amazing! Well done you for bring this to school and educating the girls.”

“Being able to spread the sycamore seeds has had a more profound impact on our students than I could have hoped for.  I have taught Drama for over 20 years now, and have lost count of how many plays I have directed, but the impact at the end of last night’s performance on both cast and audience was something I have never experienced in education.”

“I brought both my teenagers to the performance last night and wanted to write and tell you what a fantastic production it was.  The students were awesome and we were blown away by their emotive acting skills which really drew you in to the content being portrayed.  As a mother, I was wanting my boys to be made aware of the potential risk/impact of what might seem to them a fun and impulsive choice.  They both attend music festivals regularly and we often talk about what is on offer there.  Attending this together certainly made for a deep discussion in the car on the way home.  A great evening, albeit an emotive one.”

“As a parent of a teenage daughter I try to educate her in the dangers of drugs amongst other things but sometimes feel that I get the “Yeah Mum. I’m not that stupid” attitude but sitting there with her last night and seeing how much it affected her emotionally and the conversation we had after made me think that she’s not.  Watching her peers performing a true story about a situation she could find herself in really hit home and a conversation she had with a friend later that night confirmed that she had taken everything in and was scared she could in the future have to deal with something like this.”

Lloyd Theatre Arts production at the Edinburgh Fringe 2018

Reviewing Beyond the Fringe!
I Love You Mum… I Promise I Won’t Die
(theSpace @ Venue 45: 20-25th Aug: 15:40: 70 mins)

 “The finest production I’ve seen this year”

Editorial Rating: 5 Stars: Outstanding

Death and grief are difficult topics to get right in the theatre – even more so for a young company who are not likely to have experienced much of either. Lloyd Theatre Arts (most of whom are aged 14-17), however, demonstrate maturity and sensitivity well beyond their years in this powerful life lesson.

In January 2014, 16-year-old- Daniel Spargo-Mabbs died as a result of a drug overdose at an illegal rave. I Love You Mum… I Promise I Won’t Die is a verbatim response to that tragedy, using only the words of his friends and family to tell the story of what happened. Mark Wheeller’s script, which interweaves responses from those close to Daniel, is a galling and frank account of his final few days and their immediate aftermath. Grab the tissues.

What’s most moving about this show is the painful honesty of it: the script contains all the teenage awkwardness you would expect from verbatim responses, and to their credit, the company capture this in the integrity of their performance. Some perspectives indicate a knowledge of what happened that night, some a blissful naivety, and not everyone is shown in a positive light, making it an insightful and thorough, unglossed story.

The action is also interspersed with choreographic sequences to reflect or highlight specific feelings that words alone can’t convey. Counter-balance and counter-tension are common motifs to demonstrate how much the individuals in the story relied on each other to get through the days, and these are intelligent and polished moments which show a fantastic creative engagement with the piece, as well as an emotional one. Indeed, the slickness, energy and connection throughout this performance from the whole company are indicative of hours of hard work and dedication to their craft, and the result is absolutely astonishing.

The second half of this production (which focuses more on the perspective of his family and girlfriend covering the same events) does drag somewhat, as there is little in the way of new narrative content, making it feel quite repetitive and static. Further editing to combine the two halves would help make this a more cohesive and gripping piece, but even in this state, it’s the finest production I’ve seen so far this year.

The performance quality of this production from both the young people, and the actors playing Daniel’s parents, really is first class – I genuinely thought I was watching Daniel’s friends and family tell this emotive and important story themselves. Take your children. Take your parents. And take care of yourselves.

Deadline News THEATRE
I Love You Mum –
I promise I won’t die, the dangers of drug abuse

By Lucy Samson –

August 22, 2018

5 Stars *****

16-year-old Daniel Spargo-Mabbs died in 2014 after taking a lethal dose of MDMA (ecstasy) at a rave. He would have been 21 this year.

Playwright MARK WHEELLER worked closely with his family and friends to create I Love You Mum – I Promise I Won’t Die; a piece of verbatim theatre written from the testimonies of his loved ones and titled with the last words Daniel said to his mother, Fiona, before he died.

The result is a powerful, and emotional piece of writing produced with the aim of educating teenagers about the dangers of drug use; a work with depth, touching on the importance of friendship, family and love whilst growing up.

A young cast from budding company, Lloyds Theatre Arts, West Yorkshire, bring Wheeller’s play to its debut at Edinburgh Fringe Festival in a heartfelt production directed by PAUL CHEWINS that touched the eyes of many audience members, and received a standing ovation from a packed crowd on the second afternoon of its run.

The event’s leading up-to and beyond Dan’s death is retold from different points of view; giving insight into the young man’s personality, and his important contribution to the lives of those around him.

It’s clear from the emotive performances that the young cast have connected with Dan’s story.

In particular, the movement ensembles from the group show particular strength in conveying the unity of Dan’s peers in their roles. Their physical bond emphasises the understanding that each of the individuals could just have easily have been singled out by the unfortunate death.

Dan is represented by multiple cast members at different times, who assume his role by wearing a blue zipped hoody and allow his presence within the play.

Many of the young dramatics shone in their roles, but in particular those cast members who played close friends Jack (OSCAR CLEAVER) and Alice (ELLA FOSTER), had an important impact on conveying the great loss of life caused by this unfortunate incident.

Set, sound and lighting were all utilised simply and effectively to move the piece seamlessly from different places to different points of view.

The Daniel Spargo-Mabbs Foundation commissioned Mark Wheeller’s play in the hope that the play would be studied and performed in schools across the UK and further afield. It shares an important message for young people about the risks of substance abuse and experimentation, and this production by Lloyds Theatre Arts does this heavy piece of text the justice it deserves.

Here for just one week – take your tissues.