Creator: Adam Zane and And Mike Lee
Director: Adam Zane
Reviewer: Marie Smith
#BeMoreMartyn trended on Twitter in the hours after the announcement of Martyn Hett’s death at the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017 – and in this play, Hope Theatre Company shows exactly what that phrase means. They asked eight of Martyn’s closest friends to talk all about him and created a unique piece of verbatim theatre using their words, which was first performed at a memorial event.
This play gives a wonderful insight into an extraordinary young man who transformed each and everyone he knew. Martyn’s eight friends- Russell, Mikey, Christina, Rachel, Alastair, Stuart, Hannah and Andrew take us on a journey from the cobbles of Canal Street to his ‘iconic’ Eurovision parties, celebrating Deirdre Barlow, Mariah Carey and Michelle McManus along the way.
Based entirely on his life, ‘#BeMoreMartyn’ is emotional, funny and heart-warming. The play opens with a set called ‘The Frigg’ which takes us into Martyn’s flat in Stockport above a hat museum where he created his own bar using one of their favourite words.
As they tell us all about his Coronation Street memorabilia around the flat and his jazzy bathroom, it’s clear instantly how unique and fabulous Martyn was. They describe him as the ‘Cilla Black of the friend world’ bringing everyone together, even now he’s gone.
There are some hilarious moments- with scenes about dogging spots in Pedro the Peugeot and hanging around areas with rent boys on neighbourhood watch and his strictly organised Eurovision Parties where people were thrown out if they didn’t look the part and pay full attention throughout!
The eight friends give their different stories of how they met Martin- some school, some university, one through dating him and they eventually discuss the last time they saw him, which is beautifully done.
The play refers to the attack as ‘it’ and the friends talk of when they found out, one was even with him- he went out with him but sadly didn’t return home with him. However, it’s all about his life and legacy not his death- a positive approach.
The message throughout the play is powerful and important- ‘just do it’, ‘go for it’, and ‘don’t care what anyone else thinks’, that’s clearly how Martyn lived his life. Hannah even talks of her plans to meet him after the concert but nearly cancelling and his text to her- ‘Don’t worry, stay in, we’ve always got tomorrow’- a reminder of another of Martyn’s views: ‘remember to live in the moment’.
You leave this play remembering how important friendship is- as they say: ‘friends are the family we choose ourselves’ and also with the feeling you really knew Martyn. Christina says: ‘You can’t help but be happy when you’re with him’ and that’s how this entire performance makes you feel- happy and grateful.
Ending with a guest appearance from one of his friends (not an actor) Rob King closes the play with beautiful, powerful vocals.
Runs until 22nd June 2019 | Image: Contributed