Review: Punk Rock

Punk Rock gives a window look into the lives of seven teenagers living in the small town of Stockport, a small town in England. Written by Simon Stephens, the play gives an insight into the teenager’s view of life; it reminded me a lot of the conversations you had in high school. There is a real fear of what’s happening in the world – something that feels abstract to high schoolers concentrating on exams. There’s a real element of ‘whodunit’ through the entire production and some of the major themes are of love and mortality. The Stooged Theatre cast have really honed in on these emotions and actions, making it feel as if you were there in the library with the characters.

The characters in Punk Rock are vivid, mysterious, wild and ferocious. The characters, including William Carlisle (Scott Eveleigh), Bennett (Jerry Ray), Tanya (Charlotte De Wit), Cissy Franks (Sarah Gordon), Lily (Georgia Hicks-Jones), Chadwick (Lindsay McDonald) & Nicholas (Paul Predny), are multi layered and conflicting. A character can lie without flinching causing you to question what they are saying, while another is earnest. Another can flip at any time and create a great sense of unease and despair whereas others can be bold and stand up for those put down. There’s a beautiful contrast between the characters and it has a tremendous build up. The characters can be light hearted and ferocious; this balance is a reminder to the audience that nobody is intrinsically good, it’s more about trying.

I’m not sure how much time and effort went into perfecting their accents but Stooged Theatre have managed to perfect their English dialect in a natural way. A lot of the dialogue is fast paced and very content heavy but they don’t lose the audience. There’s a lot of movement in this performance around the props that continues to keep a high energy. Their accents adds an element of punk rock England to the show, along with the soundtrack of (you guessed it) punk rock.

The dialogue is also a perfect mix of confronting and thought provoking with bursts of humour. It’s important to pay attention to the script as it gives some clues as to what the overall performance is building up to. Sensitive and awkward moments are made lighter through well timed lines, allowing the audience to laugh in these moments without feeling like they are being offensive. Moments will take you by surprise when the mood changes from light to heavy and dark, making you sit back into your seat. This is intertwined with beautiful and tender moments of clarity and hope.

There is a warning on the ticket that there are loud noises, if nothing else you can be the only person in the room covering their ears like I did. Don’t let that put you off though, it’s a fantastic piece that will send you home contemplating the importance of life. It’s a whirlwind of emotion and a great portrayal of the fear that runs through teenagers before their final exams, even though it is based around teenagers the script is by no means immature. This isn’t a play for the faint of heart but is well worth watching it, the script was inspiring and the laughs frequent. The performance was superb and The Stooged Theatre actors put on a fantastic performance and artfully manipulate the audience between happiness, laughter, sorrow and bewilderment.

Punk Rock is on now at the Playhouse, Civic Theatre from: Saturday 5th March 2pm & 8pm, Wednesday 9, Thursday 10, Friday 11, Saturday 12 March at 8pm. Tickets available online.

Event review by Jodie Millard for Culture Hunter.

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Category: News
Region: Newcastle
Artform: Theatre,

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