tender

No one said turning 28 is easy. Shapour Benard’s new play, tender, makes that quite clear.

It’s Soledad’s birthday and her three closest friends, Anna (a music magazine entrepreneur who is beginning to have some success), Sam (a trust-fund baby who is a part-time bartender/part-time slacker) and Julie (the cliché former cool friend who has gone corporate and is now hated by the others: think a female Benny from Rent) have all stopped by to celebrate the occasion. With another uneventful year under her belt, Soledad begins to question the direction in which her life is going, and with the guidance of her friend Julie, she attempts to make a change. Needless to say, it doesn’t work out.

There are quite a few factors that are holding tender back. The acting is stiff and seems amateur. The actresses constantly react to lines just before they are said, with one actress in particular reciting each line as if she is reading out-loud in a classroom. The script is full of notions about New York that only someone who lives in the “New York Fantasy” could conceive. For example, there is a constant emphasis on the idea that Julie, having left the Lower East Side of Manhattan for Brooklyn in order to settle down with her husband, is a “sell-out”. In reality, most people who move to Brooklyn from Manhattan do so because areas like the Lower East Side are becoming too expensive. Ordinarily I would let this slide, but it was brought up so many times that it was not easy to ignore.

Despite a script that is so full of over-the-top moments that it could easily be confused with a terrible teenage television drama (Two out of the four characters are “cutters”? Seriously?), tender does have moments that show potential. The character of Anna is well-developed. After all, don’t we all have that friend who is such an enormous music nerd that a favourite band breaking up is just as significant as a family member dying? Additionally, there are moments that will bring back strong nostalgic memories for young people in their twenties. In the end, tender is far from a lost cause. With some serious revisions, it could ultimately turn out to be a fantastic theatrical photograph of what it means to be a twenty-something in today’s world.

Fritzie reviewed the Edinburgh preview of the show in New York at 59e59

Reviews by Fritzie Andrade

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

The Blurb

Anna and Sam throw Soledad a surprise birthday party that Julie gleefully crashes. Julie's arrival sets events into motion that forces Soledad to question what she truly wants out of life. How will Soledad cope once she stops running?

Most Popular See More

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets