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Living with Luke - audience feedback

“Such a wonderful, moving play. The acting, the genuine story line and especially the ending had me blubbing. One of the best plays I have ever seen, congratulations to cast and crew for not only staging a mind-blowing performance but also bringing the surrounding struggle with mental illness to life, if I was wearing a hat I would take it off, you deserved such an ovation. Well Done. “

“It was brilliant. So realistic about the struggle with autism. The wrestling really added to it, making the story even more powerful. I even had a tear in my eye near the end, and that never happens!! I hope tomorrow goes just as well - well done to you all!!”

“Wow!!! Everything I thought it would be and more!!! Well done to the whole cast!! Steve u were amazing “xx

“Fantastic entertainment at Living with Luke - the play. Superb performances and great energy.”

“I just wanted to say that I thought the play was amazing. I haven’t seen a piece of theatre that has moved me so much in a long time.Laughter, tears, excitement and a fantastic cast. It was just the right length. I hope it goes as well tonight and future dates.”

“Well done @Stagewrite_ Living with Luke is great. @dansthunderbolt brilliant. Heartfelt and touching words with some nifty wrestling moves.”

“Fantastic first night for Living with Luke @mercurytheatre last night - even got a standing ovation! Good job @Stagewrite_ @dansthunderbolt”

“Last night was amazing and that standing ovation was richly deserved! It was nice to see the audience get so involved as well. Well done to everyone involved “


“Well done for last night - what an original piece of physical theatre - and the wrestling was gripping so close - and the message came through too. Hope it goes well tonight”


“Not to be missed. Suggest that you get your tickets for Harlow shows asap. A perfect insight into a parents battle with 'the shadows' that surround not just an autistic child upbringing but also the fear of failing. Physical, emotional, funny and thought provoking. “


“My friend and I came last night and had a wonderful time. Brilliant acting and very well portrayed. As a parent myself of an autistic teenage son it was like having a ringside seat (literally) of my own life, which I have to say was 'spot on'. Well done all of you - fantastic! “

“Many Congratulations Paul, you so deserved the Standing Ovation, it was Truly Amazing, so well put together, very well put together ,it had everything, Laughter, sadness , humour, we couldn’t have asked for more!”


“Congratulations to everyone involved in Living With Luke. Not for a long time, if ever, in the years I've been involved with the local scene have I experienced such an audacious, powerful, surprising and moving piece of pure theatre.”

It's a show that deserves to have more people see it and you can be immensely proud.

Saw it last night, it was amazing, I cried. Haven't seen anything that powerful for a long time. Fantastic show, wish it had a longer run!

cant really add to what has been said. Was so glad I went to see it. Searing...

Just saw living with Luke, such a outstanding show completely loved the concept and the staging! a congratulations to Paul T. Davies for directing it so well and to Ben Maytham Shane Whitworth and the other actors and crew (Steve Dunt) well done all for being so talented and entertaining us all, I almost shed a tear and was completely on my toes for most of the performance

“Congratulations to everyone involved in Living with Luke. The most amazing, powerful, moving piece of theatre I have probably ever seen. I laughed and I most definitely cried.
you should be incredibly proud of such an intense piece of writing.”


Now I know what the T stands for Paul T. Davies - talent! Really enjoyed this fantastic piece of theatre. Brilliantly performed and directed, and so good to see a close team working together to produce something completely their own.

“A big heartfelt congratulations to Steve (Danson) and the cast of Living With Luke -The Play. The blogs are brilliant and give you an insight into the mind of a father with an autistic child but nothing can prepare you for what it actually looks and feels like. This is where the play works brilliantly, letting you feel like you're part of Steve's tag team, supporting him from the sidelines and wishing you could you grab his hand and take his place for him. Even if it's just for a minute so he can catch his breath. I felt emotionally slam dunked onto the floor of the ring by the time it had finished but glad of the experience. Please go and see it when it comes to Harlow next month, I know you won't be disappointed.”

“Truly fantastic show you should all be proud of your selves”

“I had the privilege of going to see the play last night. It was incredibly powerful, funny, beautiful, brutal and tender and I've never been so emotionally moved by a play. The cast were incredible and the blogs that I've read from the start were faithfully and sympathetically brought to life. You should all be extremely proud of a truly wonderful performance. And for anyone going to see it soon, pop a packet of tissues in your pocket, you may well need them!”

“I am ashamed to say that at 40 years old I have never seen a play! Saw Living With Luke tonight and I love loved loved it!! I have laughed, cheered, booed and cried! Fan-bloody-tastic! “




This was a real eye opener.

Although autism is such a vast subject I feel that Danson Thunderbolt's story gives an amazing insight into the life of a father and family living with an amazing individual in Luke. Brilliantly adapted by Paul T. Davies from the blogs and a very entertaining performance from the whole cast!

A truly extraordinary experience, best night out in theatre for a considerable amount of time! Many congratulations to all involved in creating this astonishing piece if theatre.


Amazing!!! Well done to everyone a fantastic play......went through every emotion I think


Amazing, awesome, inspiring, tearful and funny! We are so proud of the whole production team


Congratulations Danson Thunderbolt and all involved in "Living with Luke - the play" A moving, funny, dramatic piece of theatre. I hope the play continues to gather momentum and reach a wider audience. All acclaim is richly deserved!


Travelling down from Staffordshire to Essex would seem a long distance to come for a play but I can assure you Living With Luke was well acted, honest and emotional! I laughed, I cried and I am still talking about it. Thank you to Danson Thunderbolt for showing us an insight to your life with autism. Well done it was brilliant!!


After seeing the play this evening, I think it's gives people a great insight . I work with young adults with autism and feel this play would be great to be put on in all schools around England to educate the young. Well done to all the cast x


Nothing I watch makes me cry. This did. Steve... can't find the words... Just wow. X


I just wanted to say a big well don't to everyone! I would still be there congratulating everyone but I was on duty as a support worker, the guys also loved the show which means a lot. Well done!


I would happily watch this show over and over again, and I'm sure I would bawl my eyes out every time. I think it should be made part of the national curriculum and made compulsory viewing. It certainly has given me a much greater understanding of autism and the daily struggles of fighting it.

Congratulations to everyone involved for such an incredible production


It would be wrong not to take it further I reckon. A play involving wrestling being described as beautiful...says a lot about how unique this play is really

This is one of the most amazing pieces of theatre I have ever seen. The team who put this together should be incredibly proud at what they have achieved. Through this show it's like a window into the world of family life for the Hannam's. It's funny, thought provoking, action packed with a teary ending. I hope this will be on again sometime as I'd love to go again


you made me laugh, gasp and cry tonight congratulations on a fabulous thought provoking play. Lovely to see things from a male perspective and incredible to have the lead playing himself. I don't know how he did it all that wrestling and then reliving all those heart wrenching moments... incredible! The rest of the cast were all fantastic you should all be so proud!


Fabulous show, unique concept and powerful delivery from all four actors, terrifying with well timed comedy relief. I was enthralled, well done to all involved.


Just enjoyed the most extraordinary theatrical experience, seeing Paul Davies's amazing play, Living With Luke. If you missed it, you've missed it for now but it must get more airings and everyone should see it when it does because you will not have seen anything like it. Talk about physical theatre! Try mixing terrific performances, hilarious, heart-rending dialogue and professional wrestling. Can't be done? Yes it can!!

Well done Steve. It was really good to watch and learn more your journey. You guys did really well

It was a very thought provoking play ... I've worked with autistic young people for many years and you captured, rI think. but do not know how an insight into a life of Autism


Steve, you are truly an inspiration and the performance was absolutely amazing. It was an honour to meet you and shake your hand. Thank you

EVERYONE needs to see it. It is an amazing play & helped me understand & appreciate what autism is. I can't stop thinking & talking about it. Well done everyone.


What an amazing play, my 15 year old lad & I both laughed & cried throughout. Good luck in the future with Living With Luke -The Play.

Congratulations to you and the cast Steve, I can see from the response just how amazing the show is! So please please please do show it again - I can't wait to see it :-)


Amazing play. So proud.


I got to see the incredible Living with Luke again. An amazing moving powerful show that should have a UK wide tour and be made compulsory viewing in all schools........and colleges....... And work places!!!


Paul 'Living with Luke' was incredible. Thank you for a wonderful night. I laughed, cried and at times was a little bit scared of the wrestling :0). So proud and can't wait to see it again. Well done to all and what an amazing actor Danson was! Loads of love x

Paul, what a triumph. You must be immensely proud. You absolutely must get this play on again (and again). It was truly breath-taking.

I'm still buzzing this morning.

We tend to sometimes make nice noises about things we see because we recognise the hard work that people have put in but this was truly amazing.
If it was in the West End it would be a sure-fire award-winner, no question.
Also, seriously, if you market this carefully, you could have a pension supplement in your hands!

An amazing, incredible, emotional night watching Living With Luke. Amazing cast, awesome script and such an important message. I'm going to work my butt off to get this shown in schools! Will really open people’s eyes to the truth of autism. Well done to all involved- I'm glad I wore my waterproof mascara!



Living with Luke was fab! Congrats to all involved, I absolutely loved it!!!


Just seen Living with Luke. I am now giving up writing. Well done all what a fantastic show !


It's not often you see a thought-provoking, funny, moving play with wrestling (literally!) thrown in, but last night, at Passmores Academy in Harlow, I saw just that. "Living with Luke - the play", based on the blogs by Danson Thunderbolt (Steve Hannam) about life with his autistic son Luke, is brilliantly conceived and superbly acted. Set in a wrestling ring, Danson/Steve grapples with the Autist...ic Shadow that is preventing Luke communicating with him. We feel this Dad's heartbreak, frustration and mental anguish which are realised in a series of very physical bouts. There is also a lot of humour to lighten the proceedings but the main feeling is one of great emotion, beautifully expressed. Many a sodden hankie was tucked up sleeves or into pockets as the audience rose to it's feet at the end to give a well deserved standing ovation. Congratulations to the cast, Steve, Ben Maytham, Paul Tyrell, Shane Whitworth, thewriter/director Paul T Davies and all involved in this wonderful production. Tonight is the last night of this run. There may be just a few tickets left. If you haven't seen it, I recommend that you grab the opportunity. This is definitely one not to miss.

Love It, Love It, Love It

If you do take it to 'the fringe' it will blow them away.

Congratulations to you all it was stunning, I have no idea how they managed to wrestle and act it truly was a triumph.

Thank You for letting me know about it I've laughed and sobbed and feel moved by the whole play."

This play should be seen far and wide. A brilliant insight of what it really like to live with autism. I would watch it again and probably cry my eyes out again! A wonderful production, congratulations to each and everyone of you. Keep wrestling!


Just got home from the final performance of 'Living With Luke' atPassmores - thank you to cast


Congratulations on an outstanding & brilliantly produced play. Not a dry eye in the house. #Autism #Harlow


 I am an amateur writer, but a writer all the same and felt I had to write about the play I just saw.

 Living with Luke is nothing short of fantastic. I honestly had no idea what to expect, I have read some of the blogs and enjoyed them but have never been a huge fan of wrestling (sorry!) and was not sure how this would work, but work it did.

 Performed in a wrestling ring, you are drawn in straightaway by the characters, led by the narrator and father of Luke, ex semi-professional wrestler Danson Thunderbolt and his nemesis ‘The Autistic Shadow’.

From the beginning we follow Danson as he fights with his emotions as at the age of 2 and ½ his youngest son slowly begins to disappear and is eventually diagnosed with Autism, the battles he has are borne out in the wrestling ring against the autistic shadow that follows Luke around but occasionally comes to blows with Danson in true wrestling fashion. It is an ingenious way to show the everyday fight and struggle that Danson goes through for a glimpse of the son whom he once knew. Each battle is emotional but just as Danson is perhaps beginning to at least settle into a routine if not completely come to terms with what is happening to his boy there comes another blow, on top of the autism Luke has now been diagnosed with epilepsy and has high levels of mercury in his body and they have discovered that there are many foods his body cannot tolerate, of course a lot of which are Luke’s favourite.


 This play was intelligent, thought provoking and yet, given the rather serious subject matter, funny too. It made me laugh and cry and the encouragement of audience participation as if at a ‘real’ wrestling match meant you really did get just a small inkling of how Danson feels as you joined in and cheered him on his emotional ride. The supporting cast were equally as brilliant as the story and the writing and really helped bring the story to life in the sensitive way that only a parent could.


 I really hope that Danson continues to write his ‘Living with Luke’ blogs and I also hope that the play gets to be shown to more audiences, it deserves to.


 If the play gets to go out even once more, I for one will be there again, in the front row cheering for Luke and Danson and booing at the shadow and urge you all to go and see it.


 Congratulations to you all and thank you for educating me.


So Living with Luke the play, I watched the play being Luke's mum & Steve's wife, I am so very proud of Steve for being so honest about how he feels, his performance was raw & real & touched me deeply. If only we could get every Dad with an autistic child to see this play to show them they really aren't alone with their feelings. To see a piece of theatre that is very real showing the struggle parents can go through every day is not only refreshing but gives great hope.


Ben who played Luke was faultless, for me it was like watching my son, thank you Ben for giving such a genuine beautiful performance. Paul who played the Autistic Shadow showed perfectly the relentlessness of autism & how we can lose sight of the child & just see the condition. Shane who played the ref & various other parts including me, (I'm thinking of changing my hair colour) kept a lovely balance of humour & heart wrenching truth. Paul T Davies who took the blogs & envisioned the play, directed the piece beautifully, thank you & Vicky for such a respectful adaptation of Steve's blogs.


 I cried I laughed I booed what a great load of emotions to experience in one evening, Brilliant doesn't really cover it.


So.... A while back I went to the read through for this singular awe inspiring play, and I cried at that, last night I went to the plays first performance in Harlow, and I cried at that , can you see the pattern? As Luke’s brother I witness firsthand what he is like to live with, it’s not always easy, but never before has there been such an in depth and moving insight into how an parent deals with losing their child to Narnia, and my brilliant Dad Danson Thunderbolt (Steve Hannam) pulls it of with such strength and courage that I am so proud of him (As I am every day he fights for Luke, so forever) he was joined by a singular and exceptional cast Ben Maytham Shane Whitworth Paul Tyrell all pulled off a thought provoking funny, intense and heart breaking story of love and loss, Paul T. Davies the exceptionally talented writer has put together an incredible script that made it all possible, I would like to say a Huge well done to every single one of them for bringing my brilliant dad's and my little brother's story to life and good luck for tonight

 One thing for anyone going tonight, fair warning

 YOU. WILL . CRY!!!!!!


I hope that every parent and teacher gets an opportunity to see this. what an invaluable insight into living day to day, moment to moment and year to year with Autism and its effects on all those who wrestle with it. what a privilege to have been part of the audience. My hat is off to all those who made this courageous play happen, congratulations.


I saw the performance in Colchester, you cannot do it justice when trying to explain to someone what it was like you HAVE to see it. I knew little about Autism, the performance is a massive insight, it's educational, funny, deep, true to life and emotional, and excellently performed, I actually thought Ben Maytham 'was' Luke!

I hope Living With Luke continues to travel. A roadshow around secondary schools would be an invaluable education to young students. An attention holding performance and a true eye opener.
Huge Congratulations to all of you x


"Thank you for bringing it to Harwich we normally get forgotten about, brilliant show"


“Truly amazing show tonight made me laugh and cry .......even my 13 year old now wants to do more to help people with autism .”


“Just watched this absolutely brilliant, made me see things a lot clearer, thank you!”


pulls it of with such strength and courage that I am so proud of him (As I am every day he fights for Luke, so forever) he was joined by a singular and exceptional cast Ben Maytham Shane Whitworth Paul Tyrell all pulled off a thought provoking funny, intense and heart breaking story of love and loss, Paul T. Davies the exceptionally talented writer has put together an incredible script that made it all possible, I would like to say a Huge well done to every single one of them for bringing my brilliant dad's and my little brother's story to life and good luck for tonight
One thing for anyone going tonight, fair warning
YOU. WILL . CRY!!!!!!

I cried I laughed I booed what a great load of emotions to experience in one evening, Brilliant doesn't really cover it. Good luck tonight & we need to get you all on tour ASAP with love TCMH xxxxx

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