Crucible Playhouse Theatre (studio)
25 January 2024 (released)
26 January 2024
Everybody at the Crucible’s Playhouse Theatre were certainly glad they were there this week as ‘Wish You Weren’t Here’ landed heartfully into Sheffield. The show revolves around a teenage girl Mila, performed brilliantly by Olivia Pentelow, who has a fractured relationship with her divorcee mother Lorna who is peformed with passion by Eleanor Henderson.
The show is written by BAFTA comedy writer Katie Redford and directed by Human Nurture director Rob Watt.
The production features an enigmatic and captivating two cast member performance that grips the audience with its fast pace and heartfelt commentary on a range of current, and not so current, societal issues. The show is filled with well executed humour and has more than its fair share of touching moments. With a short one-hour runtime, ‘Wish You Weren’t Here’ does a masterful job of using its brief time wisely and to its advantage by packing the production with as much heart and soul as it possibly can.
Pentelow perfectly encapsulates the character of Mila and all of the struggles that she faces trying to navigate growing up as a child of divorce in a world that is consistently telling her that she is not enough. It’s hard not to believe that Pentelow identifies strongly with all the tribulations of her character Mila, such is the humanity and care that is put into her performance. The same can be said of Henderson also, who performs the restless and desperate Lorna with care and realism. These two performances really are the heart, soul and engine of the entire production. The set and props are incredibly minimal and this is not to the detriment of the audience’s experience whatsoever. If anything, it only serves as a means of highlighting the incredible chemistry and authenticity within Pentelow and Henderson’s performances alongside the brilliant writing and directing of Redford and Watt respectively.
The production does a fantastic job of touching on issues that permeate throughout modern society and it approaches these topics with care and humanity. ‘Wish You Weren’t Here’ looks into the myriad of obstacles that can face a young teenager trying to navigate the modern world. It does this alongside the troubles and tribulations that the older generations struggle with in 21st century Britain also. What really makes this show stand out so much is that it manages to weave each of the two very distinct sets of issues and problems seamlessly alongside each other. The topics that appear, disappear and then reappear seem effortless in their execution and always serve to aid the plot and the character development.
Tackling issues from climate change and loss, to selfies and race, ‘Wish You Weren’t Here’ is not be missed. Catch it at Sheffield’s Crucible Playhouse Theatre until Saturday 10th February.