In Your Own Sweet Way

Hoghead Theatre Company Returns to the Fringe with their devised piece In Your Own Sweet Way. It's performed by six actors who playing six friends in search of a play.

Another paddle in the murky pond of youthful angst

Soon they will all be heading off to university or taking other paths. Before they split up, they rent a place in the country in order to focus on writing a play. This task falls largely to Jacob, with directorial assistance from Hutch and some less than helpful contributions from the rest of the gang as partying, turbulent relationships, pranks and feuds take over the creative process.

It’s one of those teenage productions with profound intentions and lofty claims that ends up being yet another paddle in the murky pond of youthful angst. It runs the gamut of teen pressures from peers and parents, touches on mental health and gender issues and even pays glancing indebtedness to Peter Pan. It’s no great surprise that each of these is afforded only the most cursory of glances by the cast of Thomas Gonzalez-Carvajal, Guy Sharpe, Charlie Johnson, Nick George, Natasha Pope and Jenny Harker and that the promised enlightenment the play is supposed to provide is not forthcoming.

There are some funny moments and comic exchanges, but generally delivery tends to be flat and rather casual. The content of dialogue is often predictable and along the lines of youngsters chatting to their mates. The demand from one of the contributors that there should be no freeze frames in the play is predictably followed by a series of freeze frames in this play. There’s a long girly conversation in the girls toilet prefixed with questions about why girls talk in toilets. Further, there are various attempts to untangle the web of half-hearted efforts to form relationships, and the inevitable commentary on the stresses of dealing with parents who are splitting up.

There is plenty of potential in the concept of this play but it needs to be reworked, become more focussed, and attempt less in order to achieve more. What purports to be teenage issues are only interesting up to a point, and have been covered so many times before that to be successful a play one really has to find a new take or deal with issues less superficially.

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The Blurb

Six teenage friends stuck in school over the weekend – what could possibly go wrong? Inspired by the music of jazz musician Wes Montgomery, this fresh comedy from the mind of 17-year-old playwright Thomas Gonzalez-Carvajal provides an insight into the world of youth culture today. The blissfully honest dialogue combines with themes of mental health, parental pressure and gender politics that young people face to provide a witty yet haunting piece with tropes of The Breakfast Club and Simon Stephens’ Punk Rock running throughout.

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