EdFringe 2022 Review: The Land of Lost Content

Two-hander The Land of Lost Content from Henry Madd centres on spending one’s formative years in a small rural town. Delivered with a poetic lyricism and featuring moving performances from Madd and Marco Titus, The Land of Lost Content is an insightful, impressively-crafted piece of new theatre.

Friends Henry (Madd) and Jake (Titus) grew up in a small rural village, spending their adolescence looking for things to do. Filling their time with bus trips into the nearest town, damp forest raves, and picking up bad habits – pubs and drugs, home was small and familiar, until Henry moved away. Now returning to his old stomping ground, Henry reminisces over a pint – delving into memories and unresolved traumas of home town of Dulowl.

Madd conjures up shades of enthusiastic nostalgia for small-town pleasures in the early stages of The Land of Lost Content in its memories of dodgy bus services, familiar faces, and teenage antics. Henry soaks in these memories of home with Jake in his former local (the pub across the road is full of tourists and unfamiliar faces), with actors Madd and Titus delivering these recollections with a rich, lyricism bringing a poetic charm to the everyday realities of small-town life, capturing its charms and shortcomings with a breezy enthusiasm.

Henry’s recollections conjure up these historic emotions – whether it be the terror of a botched camping trip in the middle of a cadet training exercise, the thrills of illegal drinking at a school leavers’ party, or the confusion and unease of a classmate being brought to his home in the middle of the night. Although Henry now has distance from the town, the emotional weight of these memories feels prescient and fresh in his recollections. These stories will evoke a similar nostalgia in the audience – regardless of whether from a small town or a larger city – The Land of Lost Content impressively captures the nostalgia, excitement and insecurities of the adolescent experience.

In Henry and Jake’s recollections, elements of tragedy begin to shine through with a darker side to small town teenage life apparent. Painful memories of alcohol abuse and the dangerous repercussions of drunk driving, being around victims of sexual abuse, and the struggles of mental health in claustrophobic rural life are touched upon. Madd and Titus excel at capturing the range of tones explored in The Land of Lost Content, drawing us along on the highs of the teenage experience, yet allowing us to witness their struggles, fears and doubts in lower moments. Gently soundtracking the piece to non-intrusive music keeps a poetic rhythm shining through the piece, whilst slowly absorbing us in the stories of Dulowl.

The Land of Lost Content captures the scrappy charm of rural adolescence, yet refuses to shy away from the tragedies and challenges it can also prompt. Madd has created a poetic, passionate and truly powerful insight into small-town life.

The Land of Lost Content runs until August 29th at The Pleasance’s Bunker One this Edinburgh Fringe. Get tickets here.

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