first night

Punk Rock

Kate McIntosh relives the troubled teenage years with Lion Theatre Company's latest production.

Hatfield Chapel is a remarkably good setting for LTC's latest production. 'Punk Rock' by Simon Stephens follows a group of students at a private grammar school as they approach their A Level mocks. The space provides a sense of history and the chance for the director, Joe Kelen, to make the audience feel very  much part of the action. The cast get to make the most of this space and, although problematic at times, the small chapel setting lets the actors draw the audience into the 'Punk Rock' world. George Ellis, as the bold, sauntering Bennet Francis, moves about the stage controlling the action effortlessly. Whilst this captivating performance is particularly noteworthy, the others are not outshone and even in their moments of silence they remain believable yet engaging.

The chemistry between William (Alexander Marshall) and Lilly (Anna Galbraith) in the first act is charming. Galbraith's sparky yet sensitive portrayal of Lilly should be commended. Marshall also does fantastically; his moments of light and dark, the transitions, and William's endless questions were delivered with an acute understanding of the character. Tanya, played by Abbie Cole, was delightful both in the background and foreground, and Louisa Mathieu showed impressive commitment to the emotional complexity of Cissy Franks.

Kelen's directorial skill was best exemplified in the climactic scene in Act 2- the chapel came into its own as a venue and the cast all brought something unique. Congratulations are also due to Eugene Smith, playing Chadwick Meade, whose characterisation was consistent throughout the play, reflecting the character with utmost skill. The marvellous work of the cast goes a long way in distracting from some very small production hiccups that are almost invisible if you are not looking for them. They are few and far between however, in what is ultimately a seamless piece of gripping and thought provoking drama. 

10 December 2015

The views expressed in the reviews and comments on this page are those of the reviewer, and are not representative of the views of DST or Durham University.
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