Twenty Something

Morning People Productions’ self-written and self-directed Twenty Something is a wonderful, shrewd new play about the whirlwind of realities and disappointments in young adult life, set to an angsty soundtrack and showcasing some brilliant young talent. Nancy Hall and Lynton Appleton play siblings Maisie and Noah, who we join for a prickly family dinner scene interspersed with punchy flashbacks.

Funny, heart-felt and moving, this is more than worth getting up early for.

The realities of living with a mentally ill family member are explored with heart-breaking honesty. The play moves from moments of mundanity, to incessant sibling-bickering, through to some very raw and pregnant pauses. All is pulled off with impressive credibility by Hall and Appleton.

Indeed, their brother-sister chemistry is brilliantly watchable, from whiny teasing (some wittily written dialogue) to a high-energy rough and tumble scene in which chairs are brandished and tackles attempted. This is executed with convincing playfulness, although perhaps a bit more oomph was needed here to bring the play to a crescendo.

There is an almost constant switching from this playfulness to an air of coldness and distance between the two, and this is what the piece really plays on at its core. Because of the relatable mundanity - “You didn’t buy this wine from the garage, did you?” - the more raw and real moments hit hard.

The many flashbacks work well to not only play out the narrative but to keep the content engaging and pacy. Transitions are slick and lighting and sound (Charlie Davis) merges perfectly with the action to create an effective atmosphere. Staging and set is simple and effective, apart from some interesting staging during an interview scene in which I couldn’t see either actors’ face and so wasn’t sure really worked.

Ultimately, Twenty Something goes to show just how much you can do on a smaller scale, even when at a Festival dominated by those with larger budgets and platforms. Funny, heart-felt and moving, this is more than worth getting up early for.

Reviews by Chloe-Louise Saunders

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Noah and Maisy are brother and sister, both twenty-something and not living the lives they'd hoped for. As an argument at family dinner unfolds, we watch them retell moments in their lives that led them to where they are now. The good, the bad and the just plain embarrassing. With an important decision to be made, the two are under pressure to tell their side of the story and make the right choice.