Playing someone less than a third your age is quite the challenge; thankfully the cast do a good
job of depicting believably naïve adolescents. But the writing is a touch overblown in the excess of swearing and vulgarity; at times it feels more like a grown-up's vision of being young.
Michael Feast plays obnoxious Mike, who is every
bit as careless as one might expect from a drunk and reckless teenager having
just finished school, while Ronny (Mike Grady) is the troubled and intriguingly
inscrutable outsider to the group. The characters themselves are an interesting
mix – providing drama in the form of a complex love triangle – and Mike’s
younger sister Lizzy (Sarah Ball) delivers some refreshingly unexpected wisdom
Though the characters may at first seem a bit lacklustre, as
the night draws on, secrets and fears are spilled alongside the cheap beer that
keeps being cracked open to their raucous yells – and slowly, the play acquires
depth, as well as some genuinely heart-wrenching moments.
There is also the comical element: people of pension-collecting age dancing animatedly to Top Forty pop music elicits ripples of laughter from the
audience, and seeing them re-live experiences that we only ever associate with unworldly
youths (being so drunk that they think they’re “going to die”) is hilarious whilst
also granting a new perspective on that brief window to the past.
The opportunity to witness wizened actors on stage is rare – let alone playing parts that aren't assigned to them due to their age. So the twist of Seventeen is compelling in its novelty.
The play turns out wiser than its opening scenes foretell, though it fails to fully capture the heady spirit of adolescence.
|What||Seventeen, Lyric Hammersmith review|
Lyric Square, King St, W6 0QL | MAP
|Nearest tube||Hammersmith (Hammersmith & City line) (underground)|
04 Mar 17 – 08 Apr 17, 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM
|Price||£15 - £35|
|Website||Click here for more information|