Dye Young / Stay Pretty
Beth Medley @ The Tuxedo Cat – Rooftop
5:00pm, Sun 7 Mar 2010
Hahahaaa – this was great fun.
For a show that was shortlisted early, Dye Young / Stay Pretty proved to be hard to squeeze into the Schedule; in the end, it was only some fortuitous Sunday arvo barely-on-time TuxCat programming that allowed me to see this show… but I’m so happy I did.
Beth Medley introduces herself as Jill, a 19-year-old girl who is obsessed with Blondie and, more importantly, Debbie Harry. Young and seemingly alone in a small English town, she aspires to move from home, to ingratiate herself into the punk and New Wave scene, and to get to New York. And the early parts of her tale are spellbinding; I loved the detail of her fish-out-of-water life, the conflicts with friends and family and boys, leading up to her escape.
But while the early parts of her story were appreciated for their believability and deft writing, the latter parts – as she takes flight, lands in New York, and miraculously stumbles her way to CBGB with the help of total strangers – kept the spell intact through their fantastic nature. Here was a girl who had every opportunity to get lost, misdirected, or worse, but everything came good for her… and when she eventually meets Debbie, as we always suspected she must? That moment was gold.
The twist in the tail – that the actress is Jill’s daughter – and a slightly sombre conclusion somehow fail to take the lustre off earlier moments of joy. As a New Wave period piece, as a history lesson, as an enthralling tale, Dye Young / Stay Pretty delivers. Medley and writer / director Adrian Berry should take a bow, because this was great entertainment.