"Hard-hitting’ show making its debut in Preston deals with isolation

Mark Newsome performs in the show as character Billy Costello
Mark Newsome performs in the show as character Billy Costello
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A one-man show about the downfall of a young man is to make its Lancashire debut in Preston.

Blackpool, What a S*** Place To Die, follows the mental descent of Billy Costello – a young, gay, depressed, autistic actor with a drug problem – during what could prove to be his last few days alive in Blackpool.

Written by Phil Pearson and focused around mental-health issues, the story is based on the real life experiences of actor Mark Newsome - who performs in the show as character Billy Costello.

Mark said: “The character is very much based on my experiences - it’s a version of me. I call it the darker side of me - when I was in bad place. I approach Billy Costello in the same vein as any other character. What are his flaws, why he thinks and does the things he does. Make him as real as possible. It’s a very emotional and physically demanding role. To revisit old memories can be hard.

“It’s raw, honest and real. It is hard-hitting on the emotions. It talks about issues that aren’t usually raised in theatre. Hopefully, it’ll make the audience think and feel about things differently.

“It looks at gay life in a different way. It’s not all Nicki Minaj concerts, Grindr and feather boas - it’s also loneliness, despair and despondency. It’s heartbreaking.

“I hope that mental health will be talked about more and not be such a stigma. It’s okay not to be okay. Suicide is the biggest killer in young men. I hope it will make people understand more about loneliness. About being gay – it can be incredibly isolating.”

The show comes to the Stanley Arms in Preston on Tuesday, February 26.