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Edinburgh Fringe 2022


Harlow Playhouse

Genre: LGBTQIA+, New Writing, Theatre

Venue: Summerhall


Low Down

‘I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you.’ Sam and his fiancé Noel have been together for years. They have a house, a cat and their whole lives ahead of them. But when a sudden and permanent distance crashes into their relationship, it falls upon Sam to discover where their story goes from here. Harlow Playhouse present this new work by Tom Ratcliffe. Wreckage is a touching story about continuing bonds and love that only evolves, and never dies.


This is the story of Sam and Noel, how they meet, live and love. Tom Ratcliffe’s new play, Wreckage directed by Rikki Beadle-Blair explores how we deal with life and try to continue along our path no matter what happens.

Ratcliffe plays Sam, he’s twenty something and meets Noel, ten or so years older, played by Michael Walters. When they first meet it is interesting to see how their contrasting characters deal with things so differently. Sam is charming and impulsive and Noel is grounded and calming.

Something happens that affects the outcome and we may not realise fully where this story is coming from, even though we are with them every step of the way. When they first meet and early in their relationship they banter about their age difference with fast witty dialogue, and flirt while engaging in horseplay – it’s all funny, provocative and moving.

Jealousy, anger and fiery arguments arise – and coping, just trying to get through the day. Conflicts cause emotional turmoil when Sam’s family refuse to accept Noel as his lover and partner, which is hurtful. They can’t decide on whether to live in the country or town, buy or rent, which also has important considerations and ramifications for a couple’s future if something happens to one of them – it’s complicated – although they do agree on having a cat! Their love is strong and the irony is that they both want the same things but on their own terms.

Beadle-Blair’s direction drives the push pull of the relationship and it’s development through the series of flash backs and flash forwards very effectively and sensitively. Use of repetition of important phrases and physical interactions placed at intervals link the scenes and serve the storytelling. The set design is simple, with a large screen as background showing images of places they live or visit and an animated calendar which checks off the days and months as they fly by. Some hanging fronds of vegetation frame the sides of the stage.

Ratcliffe and Walters are excellent actors with a full range of emotions and physicality. Their character arc and transitions are real and believable. Together with Beadle-Blair they create the lives of Sam and Noel imaginatively and multi dimensionally in this solid piece of theatre.

Ratcliffe’s play explores several other dramatic themes relatable to us all, it’s poignant and each character really does have his own voice.

Wreckage is very human and explores tender and realistic moments of Sam and Noel’s relationship and goes deep into Sam’s psyche as he seeks to understand, and pretty much succeeds.