Tomorrow I’ll Be Happy is a new play by Liverpool playwright and Coronation Street writer Jonathan Harvey, created especially for the National Theatre’s Connections scheme, in which ten new works were commissioned for use by youth theatre groups across the UK.
Taking advantage of this, as well as acknowledging Harvey’s local link and the Liverpool story that inspired it, were Knowsley-based Altru Drama.
Tomorrow I’ll Be Happy tells its story in reverse order, beginning at the graveside of a young man. As his stunned friend Marcus (Adam Titchmarsh) weeps and asks why, the story begins to unfold. We learn that his friend Darren (Craig Pinnington) had been murdered in a hate crime inspired by the real-life case of Liverpool teenager Michael Causer.
Scenes depict the anger and coping mechanisms of the remorseless young people on remand for the killing, go back to the fateful night in question, and to the months before Darren’s death, where fledgeling romance with another boy shows a life full of serenity and promise.
The hour long play boasts a cracking script from Harvey, full of detail giving an insight into the lives of each fully-fleshed out character. The drama was peppered with his trademark humour too, in the best Corrie tradition, usually from gossipy hanger-on Cyprus (Viki Carter)
Harvey’s teenage killers Siddie (Andrew Smith) and Joanne (Rebeka de Asha) were filled with the frightening bravado of those with nothing to lose. A confrontational scene in the young women’s prison was chilling.
Central to the story were newlyweds Dior (Katrina Murray) and Scott (Tom Martin), seemingly normal on the outside but with unspoken secrets. The cast was rounded off by Scott’s brother Troy (Thomas Whelan Murray).
A simple but effective set designed by the Strange Case Collective – hanging white strips that projected a location on to them, worked very nicely and blasts of Arctic Monkeys in between scene changes kept the energy up.
Tomorrow I’ll Be Happy was a chilling, sad and profoundly moving tale, with the young people of Altru Drama admirably rising to the challenge. In a busy time for Liverpool theatre, this was a little hidden gem of a play performed and produced with real affection and care.