Mary Rose | Conn Artists | Tour | Review

Mary Rose
Connaught Theatre, Worthing

Friday 4th March 2022

Hauntingly Beautiful

Do you ever stop and wonder where all that time has gone, as if it has slipped through your fingers?

Mary Rose is a devastatingly raw tale conceived by J M Barrie that blends themes of love, loss and mystery in such a hauntingly beautiful way.

This extremely well woven piece of theatre follows the story of Mary Rose, and her unexplainable disappearance on a remote island in the Scottish Hebrides. What’s worse, is that whilst the people closest to her had endured the grief of loss over time, for Mary, it is as if nothing had ever happened.

This brings about many interesting dynamics, how do you explain that to a young child, if you even can at all? What we see is not only the grief of her loved ones and their aging, but also their acceptance of a difficult situation and how they have had to try and move on with their lives. We see this experience from so many different perspectives and it is fascinating to behold, especially when Mary returns 23 years later, bewildered how life has moved on without her.

What really intrigues me too, is how Barrie’s protagonist has strong parallels to his most famous story, Peter Pan. Having not aged a day in the passage of time, Mary Rose still has strong childish tendencies and innocence, as if something had halted her maturity into adulthood… a girl that never grew up despite those around her feeling the passage of time.

The play flirts on the borders of being a chilling ghost story, but this part of the narrative is subtle, avoiding the cheesey bangs and bumps of your ‘Woman In Black’ horror piece and instead it turns its attention on rich characters and a detailed script, that is the sign of a great play in my opinion and a great decision by Director Nick Young.

With an innovative and clever set, they were able to reflect the movement of time and location with simple changes, all executed whilst singing songs and playing instruments, smoothly transitioning scenes in an entertaining way that brought colour and vibrance to what could be considered a dark play.

And for all of its deep exploration of loss, the script is still light-hearted and witty, bringing plenty of moments of laughter along the journey.

Once again, The Conn Artists Theatre Company, have more than proven their worth as a professional touring company.

It brings me great pride as someone who lives in Worthing to see this company flourishing on stage. Despite financial hardships and the challenge of being unsuccessful with their latest funding bid, the company decided to proceed to produce this show and bring it on a nationwide tour, purely for the love of theatre and a passion to entertain its audiences.

Now that’s something worth remembering.

Mary Rose opened its nationwide tour at the Connaught Theatre in Worthing. For more information on the company and it’s tours, please visit


Reviewer: Stephen Sheldrake