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Criterion Theatre
The Cost of You (2023)
Written by Andrew Sharpe
Wed 12th July to Sat 15th July
Director – Chris Ingall
Production Photos
Prompt – Claire McDermott
Stage Manager – Frances Dixon
Wardrobe – Pam Coleman
Sound Designer – Dave Cornish
Lighting Designer – Paul Harrison
Lighting Designer – Karl Stafford
Lighting Designer – Verity Gillam-Greene
Props – Erica Young
Props – Sally Patalong
Set Designer – Mandy Sutton

The Cost of You is a modern family drama and a love story by local playwright Andrew Sharpe.

Middle-aged Jo, unhappily married, is on the brink of coming out and leaving her husband when her daughter is killed in a road crash. Should she sacrifice her new relationship to hold her family together, terrified of rejection by her son? The story is presented in reverse chronological order.

This is a studio play, with an 8pm curtain up.

EDI Assessment
This play has a central diversity story at its heart, concerned with the love between two women, one of whom identifies as lesbian/gay, and one who has identified as heterosexual. Casting will be in line with the theatre's EDI Policy regardless of ethnicity and background. The playwright asks that at least one of the female actors identifies as LGBTQ+.

The play, at its heart is a love story. A love that is still stigmatized. A love that, in this family could cause it to be torn apart. The Cost of us comes with a high price. Will it survive? Will it be worth the cost?

Tim, (Michael Hammond) his wife Jo, (Lillian McGrath) have been married, seemingly forever, and have been struggling with a tragic bereavement. Jo had been planning on leavingTim, to set up home with her lover, Bex, (Karen Evans.) She reluctantly decides she must stay to help her husband and son recover from their loss.

Although we don’t see their son Rob, his presence is felt by his disapproval of what he considers to be Tim’s toxic masculinity and his decision not to have any children himselfin case he has inherited his father’s toxic traits.

The play is presented in reverse chronological order, and we see the ending first, running through to the beginning. This becomes a little confusing at some points, though catches up with itself thanks to the scene and time changing board placed on set.

Each scene tells a story in the life of Jo and Tim, of Jo and Bex, of the budding, though at times stormy relationship that they are trying to build through the turmoil around them.

It’s about family, acceptance – or not, and of course, guilt. Jo’s journey through the guilt and pain and the realization that she has spent too much of her life with a misogynistic man, a bully with little understanding of who she is, is long and painful.

On the one hand, she is desperate to keep her remainingfamily together but on the other can she face life without Bex, her love? Her emotions are in turmoil. Maybe it’s a crush, a fad, a phase? She must decide and soon. 

Shout out to Lillian McGrath who plays Jo with wit and compassion, and also to Criterion newcomer, DannyOlaniyan, who played a number of minor parts with humour and panache.

The play was directed by Christine Ingall who overcame the obstacles caused by the play being performed on theauditorium floor with no wings for stage changing. this was done with as little fuss as possible and even added to the atmosphere.

Maxine Burns, ElementaryWhatson


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