Playwright Richard Conlon and Hampshire’s Forest Forge Theatre Company began adapting Lucy Clifford’s story, Wooden Tony, in 2009.
Last month, four years on, it had its first performance as The Boy at the Edge of the Room. So was it worth the wait?
The play tells of a family in some un-named (probably central-European) country whose son is autistic. It explores his experience of growing up, locked in his own world and making the odd foray into ours. The piece is primarily about the unconditional love of the family as well as the joys and problems autism can bring.
Forest Forge have assembled a multi-talented cast of actor-musicians. Christopher Chamberlain and Helen Jeckells ably convey the boy’s parents’ frustrations at the inability to communicate with or understand your own flesh-and-blood.
The play belongs, however, to Lee Rufford as Tony. His performance speaks of an actor who knows his craft and can pull every nuance out of the text. Here is autism painted both in broad strokes and with fine detail.