Morning People Productions’ self-written and self-directed
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.