A new production of Ali Taylor’s coming-of-age play Cotton Wool comes to the Unity next week. It is the latest work from prolific Wirral-based company Off the Ground, who are committed to promoting new talent in Merseyside and across the North West and say the young actors taking part in the show are some of the most impressive to ever come through the company.
Cotton Wool tells the story of Cal and Gus, teenage orphans living in Flint on the edge of the estuary and at “the end of the world”. Eighteen-year-old Cal believes they should make a new start in London but, on the night of their mother’s funeral, after a few beers, the pair think they spot her calling to them from out at sea.
When they meet young runaway Harriet, their search is thrown into chaos and brother is pitted against brother. Cotton Wool is described as “a gripping, moving and darkly comic tale of the anxiety, confusion, and boredom of teenage life and, above all, of the unquestioning love that two brothers can have for each other”. Written in 2008, this will be the first time the play has been seen in the North West.
Off the Ground Theatre formed 18 years ago and have produced more than one hundred shows. This production will be the company’s second outing at the Unity after last year’s Overspill.
“These shows are an opportunity for us to work with smaller casts on pieces of new writing as well as giving us the chance to showcase some of the incredible young talent we have in this area,” said OTG artistic director Dan Meigh. “Its very rare that you get to see teenage characters actually being played by teenagers and when you see these performances you know that our young actors bring an extra level of passion and an understanding of exactly what it is like to experience the emotions that their characters are going through. It is genuinely inspiring working with them and I know that that their rawness and sheer energy will have a powerful effect on the audience.”
The cast features two recent graduates from Off the Ground Youth Theatre, Ben Bridson and Felipe Pacheco, plus Whitney Dee who recently appeared in YEP’s The Grid at the Everyman. Choreographer and performer Grace Goulding says: “The talent of our young cast is so impressive, this could easily be one of those productions where you say, ‘oh, I saw them first, before they were famous, in Cotton Wool at the Unity’.”
Catch Cotton Wool for two nights only on May 21 and 22; see the Unity’s website for more details.