It doesn’t seem all that long ago that I, a young and quietly excitable whipper-snapper, peeped from behind quivering curtains for the first time. The roar of increasingly incomprehensible chitter chatter from an unsettled sea of faces suddenly clobbers you with a forgotten sense of reality. The heart begins to shudder and the adrenaline sky rockets. It’s a wonderful feeling.
Now, a slightly faded figure of a formerly magnificent mammal, I sit amongst the chits that chatter. A group of young actors from the Lyceum Youth Theatre will be performing a series of readings from the Traverse Scribble writers, before a performance of the main event, Victim Sidekick Boyfriend Me.
It’s always great to see people so young getting involved in theatre and it indeed takes me back to happier times. But allowing the fog of nostalgia to disorientate opinion would be a mistake and highly unfair on those involved.
The first 20 minutes consist of three readings, which are all very well handled by the young cast. Yes, the scripts are all very simplistic and reminded me a little of first year Forum Theatre situation drama, but to be fair, they only last around five minutes each.
It wasn't until the final reading that the audience truly glowed for the first time. A hilarious little piece about a young boy dressing up in his sisters clothes because he wants to be taken seriously as an artist. The performances by the two actors were spot on and the stage directions that accompanied along them added an extra comedic spice.
After a short interval we returned for Victim Sidekick Boyfriend Me. A tale of a how people react to those who have done such wrong, yet will never suffer as much as others are being made. Failed by the justice system over the untimely death of a young girl, matters get taken into fresh hands.
Much like what had been seen before, it was never a mystery what was going to happen in this piece. The writing is tighter and the dialogue does contain a higher level of sophistication and wit than the previous outings, but in terms of moral lessons it provides us with few.
The religious group within it are cringeworthy, which I know was supposed to be the point for some of it, but other parts I’m not so sure. The main character’s search for forgiveness is far too swift and, frankly, creepy.
However, the performances are all fantastic. The young actress in the main role brings a wonderfully edgy charisma to a character that, on paper, we should all hate. But I think, and I don’t believe I’m alone on this, we all wanted her to remain. We didn’t want her to change and so the morality of the piece gets a bit jumbled in a play that is really quite simple.
Runs 15 – 17 March, 2012