The Awkward Years
isthisyours? @ Royal Croquet Club – The Rastelli
9:45pm, Thu 26 Feb 2015
I love flicking through the ‘Guide and finding a show that’s so sure of itself that it screams “Yeah, that’s right – twenty minutes. Twenty minutes! I know what I’m about, and I only need twenty minutes to lay it on you.” Apparently, I love anthropomorphising a précis into a slightly aggressive, yet utterly confident, spruiker.
With nametags securely applied (in exchange for our ticket stub), we entered The Rastelli to encounter our hostess, Ellen Steele, who transports us via the schoolyard to a teenage party… the base age of which, weirdly, seems to get older as the performance progresses.
While a clock on the wall counts down the twenty minutes of the show, Steele tweaks our memories with the application of teen-era peer pressure and shaming: we play pass-the-parcel, we answer “have you ever” questions (apparently, I hung onto my virginity the longest out of the capacity audience), and we’re encouraged to goad other couples into snogging.
Steele scoots through a handful of characters – an irritable mum, an unstoppable party girl, an awkwardly shy and flirty girl (yes, yes – I was Ellen’s crush for the evening!) – as she falls in love, falls out of love, drinks too much, helps a drunk friend out, and even demonstrates a bit of machismo… before leaving us in a happy hangover of reminiscence.
I originally thought that The Awkward Years may have been too young for me… but Steele has presented a timeless collection of teenage reminders. And as much as I loved this perfectly-weighted performance, I have no inclination to further return to that stage of my life… it’s scary.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) February 26, 2015