Once And For All We're Gonna Tell You Who We Are So Shut Up And Listen
This article is from 2008.
OK, so enough with the sweet cheeky kids already. The audience pretty much obeyed the injunction in the title of this new piece from Belgium's Ontroerend Goed at the Traverse and came away amused, if not exactly enlightened. The piece essentially examines the anxiety and awfulness of being an adolescent through the performances of 13 teenage actors.
Alexander Devriendt's production is essentially summed up by a young girl who says, 'It's all been done before - but not by me!' The sentiment encapsulates the boundary-pushing spirit of anyone's teenage years, but also, perhaps less fortuitously, the nature of this kind of show. Perhaps, given the efforts of companies such as Victoria, another Belgian company that has worked with teenage performers in recent years, it's time for a change.
Here we watch the larks of this horde of youngsters unfold anarchically, and with little further comment as they water fight, tangle themselves in skipping ropes, career about with skateboards and imitate large breasts and pregnancy with balloons. Then they stop for a bit and do it again. And again.
One sequence, which moves from classical ballet to house music, pounds with energy, recreating the atavistic spirit of the world of not-quite-adulthood with great physical articulacy. Yet, the feeling that hangs over the piece is that of an unfinished youth workshop exercise, which proud parents might endorse, but may not be particularly interesting to the rest of us. It tells us little through its brief periods of monologue beyond the assertion that kids are pretty much like adults, but do things a bit differently.
For all that, it's hard to resist the gusto of the young cast, who, with a modicum of brave audience interaction and a massive, messy, all-partying climax at least leave you grinning at the rather abrupt denouement.
Traverse Theatre, 228 1404, until 24 Aug, times vary, £14-£16 (£10-£11).