I Will Miss You When You’re Gone – 2.5 Stars


I Will Miss You When You’re Gone

Hen & Chickens Theatre

Reviewed – 18th August 2018


“there’s no reason why this play couldn’t evolve into a very valuable voice in the conversation surrounding grief”


Perhaps the main issue with I Will Miss You When You’re Gone is that, despite promising to discuss the effects and experience of living with grief, it gets so caught up in the throes of ghost politics that it all but forgets to do what it set out to. To explain what I mean by this, this play comes in at just over an hour in length. One would think that in this time there could be plenty of discussion of what it means to grieve and eventually move on, but this just doesn’t happen. Instead, much of the time seems to be taken up with the minutiae of who can or can’t see who and why. Certainly, this could be of interest, but it felt to me that it seriously overshadowed what the play allegedly set out to do. There were many points at which it became evident that, for all the talking, the plot was not really growing or progressing. Instead, it felt like it was managing to go in circles without breaking any new ground.

Additionally, while not all of the acting was wonderful, there was also a strong sense that this would be a challenging piece to perform extremely well. Far too many of the lines jarred uncomfortably, and some moments just felt so unnatural that it was virtually impossible to take them seriously. Most of the time, it would be hard to really blame the actors for this. The issue clearly lies far more with Jessica Moss’ original material. However, I didn’t get the impression that the direction (Vuqun Fan) pulled much out of the text. It was frequently hard to discern just why the characters were doing what they were doing as their motivations were never really made clear. Because of this, many of the momentary snapshot scenes (all too frequently sandwiched between painfully extended blackouts) just didn’t quite make sense. Given the simplicity of the set (Aiden Connor) and the small size of the cast, it would be hard to justify any blackouts between scenes at all, and yet these were often long to the point of distraction. If these quick successions of small scenes are to work, there must be a better way to do that than cutting the play off for twenty seconds every time.

Despite these issues, I can’t write this play off. Perhaps if the director and cast manage to hone their focus in on the elements of the text that explore real issues, these can be more visibly drawn out. If that is possible, then there’s no reason why this play couldn’t evolve into a very valuable voice in the conversation surrounding grief, and on how we as a society deal with it. There is some important material in there – there’s discussion of how isolation plays into mental health issues, how humans respond to grief and what it means to succeed. If these issues can be brought to the forefront, that would be a good place to start.


Reviewed by Grace Patrick


I Will Miss You When You’re Gone

Hen & Chickens Theatre until 29th September



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