BWW Reviews: SELFIE, Ambassadors Theatre, October 7 2014

The NYT REP theatre was launched in 2012 as an affordable response to the rise in tuition fees. It offers 15 of Britain's most talented young actors eight months of free training and mentoring, culminating in a 10 week residency at the Ambassadors Theatre. This year the young stars of tomorrow perform parts in three shows; Selfie by Brad Birch and the NYT Rep Company; Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo and Shakespeare's Macbeth.

Selfie is a radical retelling of Oscar Wilde's, 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' with Kate Kennedy as the vacuous, troubled and decaying Gray. She embodies this role wonderfully, emerging to the 'scene' as an innocent ingenue but rapidly affected by constant compliments and admiration, fuelling her increasing narcissism and disregard for her so called friends and lovers. I would love to know which IT girl she based her performance on.

Her contemporaries at the REP support Kennedy wonderfully, with Birch having written a role for the whole ensemble. Ellie Bryan's Sybil 'Vane' (the only family apart from Gray to be afforded a surname) is sublime as a fragile Amy Winehouse esque singer lamenting on being an outsider, love and fleeting relationships.

The ensemble cast include a hotch potch of characters as a wanton group of rich, binge drinking, drug taking friends who never wanted to grow up. It was difficult to understand where they came by their money and their jobs were vague, in 'branding' or non existant.

Techniques to update the show were clever, with iPads on stage, selfies being taken and nods to other forms of social media. There were numerous topics touched on, maybe too many, ageing, responsibility, politics, re-gentrification, the class system, desertion, narcissism, loneliness, social media, self obsession and self validation were all thrown together and maybe some of the themes needed to be explored a little more.

The staging, lighting, costume and music were all innovative and overall this is an extremely professional production - the NYT Rep Selfie takers are certainly ones to watch.

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From This Author Kate Finburg

Kate is a part-time journalist living in London and working in the television and film industry. Passions are London leisure time and exploring our capital (read more...)

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  • BWW Reviews: SELFIE, Ambassadors Theatre, October 7 2014
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