Teenage Riot

This article is from 2010

Teenage Riot

A brave, arresting and dark frenzy of action

What’s going through the mind of a teenager? Lovebites? Career prospects? Facebook? Dieting? All of the above, apparently. ‘My shrink doesn’t understand me!’ whines one teenager, in a comedy section where we get an emo blast of adolescent moans. ‘I am too creative for this world!’ sobs another.

This production’s strength lies in its ability to show teenagers in a non-patronising but honest way – we see all their laughable angst; their hormonal frustration, their cossetted fears and frantic (and yes, sometimes annoying) energy. Written and directed by Alexander Devriendt with additional script from the eight excellent teen actors, it’s a brave, arresting and dark frenzy of action, mostly filmed live inside a wooden shed onstage, and projected outwards for the audience to watch.

But rather than rolling our eyes at them, (what the hell would they know about life?) we are left feeling they may have a point – albeit an unsettling, possibly insulting and extreme one. ‘You’re not an example,’ they shout at the crowd, addressing the adults. ‘You’re a warning!’ Their view of adulthood is one where the mums are also dieting, couples are divorcing and people are still whining, but doing nothing about it.

Feeding us a dizzying stream of images from inside their impressive Tardis-like hut, (hands grope under American Apparel clothes, marker pen is graffitied on walls to a soundtrack of Fuck Buttons, and sickening parent voiceovers bombard from above), their anarchy reminds us of the teen ideals that they seem convinced we have all lost.

Ontroerend Goed, the Flemish theatre group who have won Fringe Firsts for the past three years, have lost none of their ability to challenge and surprise. If last year’s Internal was a boundary-licking flirt around speed-dating, this year it’s a call to reconnect with our younger selves. As one teen prays: ‘Hope when I’m 80 I’m still as mad as a 14-year-old.’

Traverse, 228 1404, until 28 Aug, times vary, £17–£19 (£6–£13).

Teenage Riot

'We can't help it, we're changing. We're not kids anymore. We don't feel like showing you everything that goes on inside. You're kept at a distance. We don't need to find solutions for your problems. We're gonna have so much fun that it hurts.' Eight youngsters huddle together to explore their boundaries ? or lack of…