BCF 19: Removed

 Production Photo: Matt Curry

"You feel it when you're not wanted. You're an intrusion in someone's space. Cordoned off as if your existence is someone's burden."

From words like these, powerful themes and enduring ideas grow, and from them writer Fionnuala Kennedy, director Emma Jordan and actor Conor Maguire craft another Prime Cut of theatre, the immense Removed. Originally performed as a work-in-progress recital at the Reveal-Ed symposium in January, it receives a brand new look and life at the Brian Friel Theatre, in which Maguire's Adam evolves well beyond the shattered, rambling, insulated soul I originally perceived him to be. It is what I thought it was - but it is also so much more.

What initially seems to be a numb call for help from this young man removed (hence the title) from his home at age nine and placed in the hands of the care system translates into a quiet, unsettling explosion of polyvocal expressionism. That is to say, the voice, perspective and mannerisms of many true-to-life youths parlayed through the fictional Adam alone - a pressure which Maguire, in his professional debut, handles tremendously.

The strong emotional pain within is played reservedly rather than forcefully, uniquely strengthening the impact of both the production and Maguire's performance. Removed is a window and a sometimes frightening mirror to the longing of ambition and the shyness of fear, the scattered stress of the conscious and the more insulated pressures of the sub-conscious. Herein emerges a disturbing, terrible paradox: the inability to appreciate good fortune because it might not fit one's perception of how their world could, and should, be. The Adam we see isn't necessarily the Adam he wants to be, but how many will know that? How many will want to know that? How many will he even want to tell? And will he listen to them? You may fear his mind will blow... and yours most certainly will be blown by the quality of the work here.

Simon Fallaha

Removed is being staged at the Brian Friel Theatre, Belfast, as part of the Young At Art Belfast Children's Festival and will continue running until Saturday March 16th. For more information, click here.