We created our Quines Writes training programme earlier this year to tackle the gender imbalance in theatre journalism. The six week programme ran in partnership with The List, YWCA Scotland – The Young Women’s Movement and The Feminist Fringe. It gave a group of young womxn the opportunity to develop their skills in writing reviews and interviewing theatremakers for features. Many of them have continued writing so we wanted to share their work with you on our blog.
Review by Ellen Leslie
Inspired by stories from over 100 young people, Masterclass’s Cookies takes a fresh look at internet safety. Written by Emily Jenkins and directed by Anna Ledwich, the play was commissioned and developed by The Cyberscene Project, an initiative that aims to address cyber bullying.
The narrative centres around three teenage girls who encounter different dangers while navigating the online environment. Their storylines are chilling and at times hard to watch, but they reflect the harsh realities of young people’s online experiences. There’s Eva, who faces the consequences of sexting; Salena, who is radicalised by a young Muslim girl living in Syria; and Sosa, who deals with the repercussions of social media after she meets her idol. Although the characters interact with each other, they communicate via the internet, demonstrating how the online world can become blurred with the real world.
The amount of topics squeezed into just over an hour was impressive, but some of these could have been explored further. Sosa’s storyline in particular felt slightly underdeveloped: I wanted to hear more about her sibling, who died as a result of gang violence, and the homophobic abuse she received. Regarding Salena’s storyline, I would have liked more emphasis on “stranger danger”: Salena had no way to confirm Rayah’s identity.
Still, Cookies was an enjoyable watch, which skilfully discussed the issues facing young people in the cyber age without being preachy.
Review by Rebecca McIlroy
What if you could see the repercussions of your actions in near real time? A reassurance you’re making the correct choice? The National Theatre of Scotland and Cumbernauld Theatre’s collaboration Future Perfect (Tense) explores this through one woman contacting her future self.
It begins fairly straightforward, setting up a meeting with a pre-planned agenda to check in on outcomes to some big life decisions, quickly becomes more abstract and philosophical in its approach.
Neshla Caplan’s performance is something marvellous in the twelve-minute runtime given, playing off herself as a future version of her character. The nuances of panic, anger and curiosity gives the piece a lovely, natural feel to it that keeps the abstract ideas grounded in familiarity. The timeline is ambiguous so it doesn’t fully root itself in our current climate but doesn’t stray far with small suggestions of what the present woman is in for.
Rather fittingly, in retrospect the story has left me with many questions as it works on both a personal, self-introspective level and on the more metaphysical level. What behaviours are you destined to repeat, why is this, how will this affect you later? As seen in Future Present (Tense) having foresight or hindsight don’t seem to help either version of the woman.
Nicola McCartney’s writing is pushing what online theatre content can be. As part of the National Theatre of Scotland’s Scenes for Survival it is aptly placed and I truly hope it develops into a fuller length production as the seeds that she plants are exceedingly interesting.
My Left Nut
Review by Lucy Philip
Bad hair dye, questionable fashion choices and cringe worthy parents, some of the many awkward phases we almost all inevitably face in our teenage years, however carrying around the weight of a can of Coca Cola in your pants takes things to a whole new level. My Left Nut, a one man show written by Michael Patrick (who also stars) and Oisín Kearney tells the story of Michael, a teenager from Belfast with an eye watering problem that’s weighing him down in more ways than one.
Patrick’s energetic performance takes us on a nostalgic trip down memory lane paired with some fabulous throwback tunes, reliving the dangerous silence he kept for over a year about his embarrassing issue down below. On the surface My Left Nut could appear gimmicky, however there is depth. After Michael’s fear of having testicular cancer is confirmed to be a very treatable and common ailment, it raises the question of why are so many of us still afraid to speak-up? This witty and unique take on growing up is a frank and spirited take on adolescence, reminding us a trouble shared is a trouble halved.
My Left Nut streamed live on 23rd August as part of Shedinburgh Fringe Festival.