There are some sweetly comedic sections, including Seanette not wanting shoplifting to tarnish her reputation - as a more experienced criminal
Seanette likes going out on the town and getting “mad with it”. Lynn’s more reflective, a heavy drinker who writes bad poems and pretends her estranged mum is dead. Their crimes aren’t specified, but shoplifting and general lairiness feature heavily, and both are electronically tagged as a result.
The actors do well with a script that’s confusingly-written. So many lines start with “I don’t know” that it’s a wonder they’re able to keep their places, though occasionally garbled delivery means key moments aren’t especially clear. The writing is fairly obvious, and some phrases feel out of place in the characters mouths: “we have to go through this charade - a bureaucratic dance if you will”. But there are some sweetly comedic sections, including Seanette not wanting shoplifting to tarnish her reputation - as a more experienced criminal.
The programme promises to “explore the issues that cause young people to act out and the challenges that confront them when trying to change”. Tagged doesn’t quite achieve this: there’s little emotional depth given the weighty subject matter, and the young actors would benefit from more gravitas. “It’s the only happiness I’ve ever known,” Lynn says of her alcohol dependency. Seanette confides in us, “to tell you the truth, I kinda like going to jail. Good to get away for a while and reflect”. The flippancy of such statements comes across as a little simplistic.
Tagged is at its most engaging when Lynn discusses a myth that “everyone has two wolves inside of them” - one obsessed with violence and rage, the other representing friendship. This duality is nicely reflected in the costume: the hoods of the red and grey tracksuits worn by the performers make them both wolf and Red Riding Hood simultaneously. The idea of victim and perpetrator is an interesting one in relation to youth crime, and while it feels like a sudden attempt to add some concluding symbolism to the plot, they would do well to explore it further.
The writing isn’t as insightful as it wants to be, and the performers look far too youthfully rosy to believably be “a threat to society”. There’s not much grit here, but Tagged is nonetheless an endearing production from two playful young performers.