WE.ARE.YOUNG

Thu 10th April – Thu 15th May 2014

reviews

Sam Hughes

at 16:46 on 16th May 2014

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Hidden in the back streets of Clifton, the Alma Tavern is a quirky venue for up and coming, original theatre. A great example of this is We.Are.Young from the new all female theatre company DollyPop and it is, quite simply, a total success.

The play is centred around an evening with three recently graduated friends (Dot, Liv and Lol) who are just getting started in their post-university lives. First jobs, first loves and first mistakes, We.Are.Young is a brilliantly observed snapshot of young adult life. Clever use of multimedia and live music soundtrack only serves to augment the already fantastic performances of Jade, Emma and Claire and all I can do is congratulate the actors and whole production team for this. I would normally try to single areas and performances out for praise but I genuinely feel it would be doing the overall production a disservice to do so.

It is very difficult to be truly original but Jade Berk's script not only manages to do this but by writing about something personal the play feels relevant, free-flowing and easy to relate to. Subtle commentary about social media and 'always-on' culture does not detract from the witty dialogue or steer the plot off course but it does give the audience food for thought long after the play has ended.

I make no apologies for giving We.Are.Young five stars. Shakespeare it is not, though it is more accessible, but nor does it claim to be. What We.Are.Young aims to do it does exceptionally well and I urge you to go and see it if you have a chance. Even if you don't, drop what you are doing and make time for it because you won't regret it.

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Anwen Jones

at 18:32 on 16th May 2014

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Billed as a brand-new sparkling theatre company consisting of only female members, DollyPop Theatre was always going to make an impact with their debut production, 'We.Are.Young.'

The show follows the thoughts, witticisms and relationships of three recent graduates - Lolita, the dizzy, childlike but loveable plumber who seems incapable of wearing any item of clothing that isn't pink; Olivia, the upper-class, smartly dressed secretary with a disturbed family background but excellent turn of phrase; and Dot, the blunt, creative actress with the coolest glasses going. Decorated with a sinking sofa, a number of random shot glasses and a selection of pastel cushions, the set strikes the perfect balance between being overtly girly and miserably student-like. As such, the audience, after the intro music faded, were left with an ordinary, real-life scene.

What ensued, however, was nothing short of special as an hour of brilliant characterisation, excellent staging, natural humour and the occasional swig from a Sainsbury's basics gin bottle set the tone for a fantastic night of theatre.

The three cast members were incredibly well-engaged, bouncing off one another with ease, maintaining a flow of energy and enthusiasm throughout. Special consideration must be given to Jade Berks, whose brilliantly timed comic interludes as Dot were my personal highlights from the show. As the writer of the piece, her words and characters really came to life (with the help of Claire Rowbothem and Emma Jarvis) and were refreshingly real and funny.

In addition, the use of the backdrop as a screen to show Facebook pages, text messages and emails was innovative and impressive, emphasizing this generation's dependence upon social networking - a clever and well-prepared aspect of the show.

The only criticism I could find with the show was the minor and rare slips in character on stage. A few stutters and a slight change in facial expression showed the nervous energy of the actors, though I must emphasize that this was barely important when compared to the execution of the piece as a whole.

I find it invigorating and exciting that a number of young, creative, passionate women have put this company together in the hope of showing females that this industry is for them, and that they're taking the reigns. As such, I applaude DollyPop Theatre Company for an awesome performance, and for the even more brilliant task of representing women in the arts.

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