I Love You Mum - I promise I won't Die

Mark Wheeller
Tie It Up Theatre
Fringe Player

The Company

Mark Wheeller is a prolific playwriter with an international reputation for verbatim theatre. His plays have been selected as set texts for GCSE exam boards and widely performed in schools and colleges.

Tie It Up Theatre gives a powerful performance of I Love You Mum – I Promise I Won’t Die on Fringe Player. It’s strong ensemble work from four highly talented actors who multi-role to tell this harrowing true story.

The play starts with a glowing tribute from his actual parents, Tim and Fiona Spargo-Mabbs, who describe Dan as, “infinitely enduringly loveable.”

He is a bright teenager who works hard and wants to get to university. He doesn’t smoke, or drink or do drugs. He enjoys playing on his Xbox, going to parties and hanging out with his friends and is a bone marrow donor.

But everything changes when he goes to an illegal rave and tries ecstasy for the first time and ends up in a coma in hospital.

The cast, Amy Balmforth, Danny Mellor, Ashley Pekri and Cobbie Scott-Ward, use impressive physical theatre which is full of energy creating thoughtful characterisations to convey the events that lead to Dan’s eventual tragic death.

They capture the early teenage relationships that are totally believable and play the parents with such sincerity that it brings a tear to the eye.

Inventively directed by Elliot Montgomery, they symbolically use a red hoody to represent Dan throughout and movingly as he dies in hospital.

The production ends with a video montage of Dan’s life and a moving message from his mother for all youngsters, “remember how incredibly precious you are and how your life matters.”

This is theatre that embraces the ‘Spirit of the Fringe’, challenges the audience and is an impressive, emotive production.

Reviewer: Robin Strapp