I’m Missing You offers some strong, touching acting and curious character dynamics, with plenty of potential for further development.
At the outset of the play Sam and his wife, Maggie, are frantically searching St Jude’s station in London - desperately asking people if they have seen their son. As the months pass, however, Maggie despairs of their fruitless search, believing their parental duty must lie in looking after their daughter, Charlotte. Sam, however, cannot give up, choosing instead to live homeless in the station to continue his bereaved vigil. The play follows the next two decades of Sam’s life and the conversations he has with passers-by.
Sitting on the platform Sam meets various odd characters over the years, sympathetically engaging in conversations about their lives. An HIV-afflicted young woman arriving on the platform to kill herself, a lonely dementia-sufferer, a jaded and overworked nurse; all are introduced to us through their heart-to-heart conversations with the thoughtfully stoical Sam. These characters have potential, but their brief appearances prove too short to really develop them as people, and their relevance to the overall plot is sometimes a little tenuous. The dialogue too is often hard to believe as characters jump into profound, heartfelt conversations with strangers in a manner that feels awkwardly forced and jars uncomfortably with the naturalistic style of the performance. At times the script falls into the trap of having characters unsubtly state the message that the scene is trying to convey - a clunky sort of thematic exposition which undermines the credibility of the scene and feels a bit patronising to the audience.
Despite this, there are some strong points. Codge Crawford does an excellent job playing the aging and increasingly downtrodden Sam, portraying both his stubborn resolve and his grief-stricken guilt in a compelling performance that is hard not to admire. The story itself is so heart-wrenching it’s hard not to feel empathy, while the set - a stylish and impressively well made wall, replicating a London tube station - does a good job of making the play feel smaller and more oppressive, well-befitting this production.
I’m Missing You offers some strong, touching acting and curious character dynamics, with plenty of potential for further development. However, without these developments it feels a bit unsatisfactory. It’s possible that it’s been handicapped by time restrictions and the difficulties of fitting its ambitious content into such a short play, but unfortunately the script does not do complete justice to its intriguing central premise.