DNA by Dennis Kelly

The Year 12 girls from Wycombe Abbey school in High Wycombe under the direction of Phoebe Francis have created a fine production of DNA by Dennis Kelly.

Convincing performances all round

It’s a fascinating and disturbing play which, perhaps because it deals with young people, often appears far less sinister than it really is. They are the sort of kids that could be found in any school from normal families; they just happen to have landed themselves in a mess and now have to cover up a major crime and in so doing dig an even deeper hole to get out of. Honesty in the first place might have been the easier option, but once the first cover-up is devised the web has started to be woven and the innocent victim captured in it seems too good to let go.

Francis has boldly taken the script and placed it in the hands of an all-female cast, brilliantly demonstrating that it works irrespective of gender. This is not about ‘who’ people are but rather ‘what’ they are or can become. The girls, in their various roles, convincingly explore the vulnerabilities of the weak and the controlling influence of the powerful along with the effects of peer pressure, intimidation, fear and bullying. It’s a poisonous mix that seems less venomous in the hands of the young than it really is.

These are not hardened criminals plotting malicious crimes, but children thrown into a world they never dreamed existed; rather like those in Lord of the Flies. There is the odd one amongst them to whom it seems to come quite naturally; the one with imaginative psychopath tendencies whose moment has arrived. Each student has clearly given careful consideration to her character providing definition that gives an insight into the person and what is going on with her beneath the suface.

It's agreat choice of play and one that allows all involved to demonstate their theatrical capabilites with convincing performances all round.

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The Blurb

A darkly comedic study of teenage peer pressure and pack mentality, DNA was first performed at The National Theatre in 2007. This version is performed by a group of Sixth Form pupils from Wycombe Abbey School.

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