My Best Friend Drowned in a Swimming Pool, Sunday’s Child
Reviewed by: Katie MacFadyen
A teenage boy passes out at a party, hits his head on a weird concrete sculpture, and drowns in the swimming pool; and so begins what is, in effect, an upmarket Skins, with the same blend of teenage angst and gritty realism in a theatrical setting. The deceased’s four best friends share their own methods of dealing with the grief through a mixture of dialogue and monologue, interspersed with dance and chaotic lighting to powerful effect.
The portrayal of bereavement and grief, and the different reactions to it, is raw, emotional, and strikingly realistic, with weeping and turning to religion shown
on equal footing with drinking yourself into a coma and having sex until you’re treated as the town bicycle. The characterisation is strong, each of the teenagers
fascinatingly complex and well-acted, with Liam the gay Catholic perhaps the stand-out performance in terms of both acting and writing.
It is, at times, lacking in subtlety – the heavy use of monologues leads to an awful lot of telling and very little showing – and there is an overwhelming sense of futility, from the utterly pointless death that starts the action to the ending showing that the characters have neither learned nor achieved anything, but overall it is an intense and moving show, with characters and imagery that will stick in your head.