Growing Pains Theatre Company offers its Edinburgh debut, a confessional piece of drama exploring the fraught path from adolescence to adulthood. Rifling through boxes of their childhood possessions, Emma, Rachel and Maz take a look at the children they were then and how this compares to who they are now in a concise show that is at points touching, but generally overwrought.
There are promising moments in this show addressing serious and relatable issues, many of which will resonate with audiences.
Nervous energy permeates the room as the girls begin delving into their pasts, conveying many relatable anxieties facing Generation Y - money worries, relationships, and the struggle to become independent paired with fears about dealing with life on your own. The show has a lot of potential to strike a chord with fellow twenty-somethings, but moments of poignancy are frequently marred by over-acting that detracts from the sincerity of the material. There are some great lines in the show - the “genocide of the imagination” is a fantastic turn of phrase - but they would be better served with more nuanced delivery.
A nostalgic recollection of sibling bathtime astutely pinpoints the moment at which Maz really noticed for the first time that her brothers have “something” she doesn’t. This humorous observation is undercut by the actors’ cloying depictions of children. The tone also feels wrong during the ‘Diary Game’, in which audience members get to select extracts for the actors to read from their teenage diaries so that the selection changes each day. It is packaged as a fun bit of audience interaction with the expectation that the extracts will be silly and embarrassing, but in actual fact many of the diary entries are sad, sweet and even, in some cases, well-written. This is not a bad thing at all but makes the game’s setup feel inappropriate and hinders the audience’s engagement with what is being communicated.
There are promising moments in this show addressing serious and relatable issues, many of which will resonate with audiences. The musical finale is a great way of summarising the spirit of ABCs to LSD. However, a more coherent tone and greater subtlety within the performance are needed to give it the emotional kick it is aiming for.