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BWW Review: BRIGHT. YOUNG. THINGS & HEAVY WEATHER, Nick Hern Books

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BWW Review: BRIGHT. YOUNG. THINGS & HEAVY WEATHER, Nick Hern Books

Two new pieces of youth drama are available in the Nick Hern Books catalogue, in their Platform series in collaboration with Tonic Theatre: Georgia Christou's Bright. Young. Things. and Lizzie Nunnery's Heavy Weather. Uncommonly for the publisher, the two plays haven't yet received a full production, but any directorially inclined eye can spot their potential.

With both plays featuring a large female cast and interesting roles for young women, according to the core idea of the series, Bright. Young. Things. sees six girls taking part in a competition show where they can flaunt their genius minds, while Heavy Weather's central character sets off for a passionate and demanding adventure with the aim of getting people to care.

The barrier of a relatively limited development slightly shows, with the dialogue teetering between exceptional and underwhelming in both cases. Christou is linguistically more consistent in hers, although there's a level of predictability that can be overlooked in favour of the quite effective storyline.

She aims the spotlight on the fabricated authenticity of reality television and gameshows, highlighting how the pressure to be perfect, look the right way, and have the correct opinions has become a game in the age of social media. By putting her (strikingly different) characters side by side in the same context, she demonstrates the isolation and loneliness caused by overachieving attitudes and unattainable expectations, kickstarting a broader reflection.

Heavy Weather bubbles with a chaotic vibe that could present some production challenges, as Nunnery attempts to address multiple themes at once. We have climate change, family trauma, online and in-person bullying, and a baffling influencer - making it a bit thematically confusing as, every so often, the piece skips from one to the next before it's sunk in properly.

The dialogue feels over the top at times, straying too far from the specific idiosyncrasies needed - with the exchange between our heroine and the aforementioned influencer being a prime example. The lengthy explanation of her job and how it relates to the protests in the streets is too on the nose and perhaps even defensive to feel real, especially considering that it's delivered to a 16-year-old.

Nunnery, however, writes an intriguing role for the ensemble with lots of scope for a compelling visual translation, were it to fall into the right hands. All in all, while it reads as an energetic if scattered show, it makes for a fascinating challenge.

Both playscripts deal with heavily topical subjects that impact the younger generations directly. Might the texts have benefitted from some more development? Probably, but they still cater to a branch of theatre that desperately needs material and attention - and a young, brilliant director could do wonders with either of them.

Here you can purchase Bright. Young. Things. and Heavy Weather


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From This Author Cindy Marcolina