Tits/Teeth poster image
Where: Inner London
18 August 2009 WOS Rating: Average Reader Rating: Reader Reviews: View and add to our user reviews The National Youth Theatre’s First Timers season demonstrates two key fundamentals: it is generously funded – witness the glossy programme and the production values – and there is no shortage of theatrical talent in the student generation. Both are causes for celebration. Should any sceptics be in danger of underestimating what’s on offer here, when all eyes are on Edinburgh, a visit to the Soho Theatre is to be advised.
“You look so good on all fours” says Ffion’s boyfriend in the first play of this double-bill, and, sadly, Ffion, whose only real ambition is to be a glamour model, takes this as a compliment. She is delighted to find herself as a screensaver on schoolfriends’ mobiles, and rapidly progresses to a ‘meeting’ in the local Starbucks where a young sleazeball who still lives with his mum advises her to get a boob job if she really wants to succeed. She hands over £200 in cash to join the ‘agency’ and, needless to say, goes through with the necessary operation only to discover that her image will be photoshopped out of recognition anyway. Celebrity magazines come in for some stick here as
Tits examines the generation who see their bodies as sculptable expressions of their worth to society. Easy dramatic targets, and a somewhat predictable storyline, but deftly written and very fetchingly played by Gwyneth Keyworth as Ffion and Lizzi Connolly as her friend Cheryl.
The second play,
Teeth, plumbs deeper psychological depths, dealing with a girl, Louise, who discovers that her self-hatred stems from a condition called body dysmorphia. Again the two central roles are beautifully played by Sophie Ward as Louise and Ria Zmitrowicz as Cassie. They catch completely the stubbornness and bewilderment of two sisters who are unable to comprehend what lies beyond the immediately physical. Both plays, by Michael Wynne, author of The Knocky and The People Are Friendly (Best Comedy nomination, WhatsOnStage Awards), have an appealing freshness and vitality and are tellingly directed by Anna Niland.
With the luxury of a vast pool of performers to call upon, both plays feature a chorus-like ensemble of gym members, dancers, doctors and nurses, who add a surreal touch to the inner churnings of the adolescent minds (choreography and movement by Cristina Avery and Imogen Knight, respectively).
Tits/Teeth is only one programme in a series of five at this address. A promising start.
- Giles Cole
Score Comment Date I wish I had been as keen on this double bill as your reviewer but there was nothing to admire in the writing which was superficial and schematic. The author merely developed the clichés around the issue of vanity and hung it all on the backs of shallow characters with were no more depth than their names and no development to make them more than mouthpieces. This is really a pity because the NYT have the talent to tackle more challenging work than this which patronises their abilities with a sub-soap standard of material. The production was slick, but the director would have been better employed helping those actors who needed a keener eye cast over their performances than in making most of the cast into no more than scene shifters. - alna ryan 20 Aug 09
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