Images (above and on Shows page): Pia Johnson
Company: Melbourne Theatre Company
School’s out. Forever.
On the edge of adulthood, six teenagers gather at a local park to celebrate a rite of passage in nearly every young person’s life: the final day of school.
Through wild drinking, carefree dancing, forbidden pashes and jaw-dropping confessions, what begins as a party to mark the beginning of the rest of their lives becomes a portrait of the complexities of youth.
Set against a soundtrack of infectious bangers and played out on a visually stunning 11m revolving playground, Australian playwright Matthew Whittet’s playful yet moving exploration of adolescence traces the drama of growing up and letting go.
With an ensemble cast of legendary stars of the stage and screen who have been there and done that, Seventeen is a poignant reminder of the inner teen within all of us.
★★★★ MTC opens its 2024 season with Matthew Whittet’s play about the exciting, scary potential of youth and how our lives seem to pass by in a flash…. there is more than enough energy and surprises, moments of humour and sadness, wisdom and wistfulness to make the time fly.
Patricia Maunder, Limelight
★★★★ Intricate and elegiac… mercurial and charming. The goal isn’t to construct an anthropological view of modern youth culture. Rather, Seventeen aims to summon our own, obscured teenage selves, and to grapple with the mystifying allure and trap of memory itself.
Tim Byrne, The Guardian
★★★★ Seventeen takes place entirely within a playground, dirt and all. There’s something about seeing grown-up actors scuffing the bark chips in frustration that triggers a deep sensory memory of the lack of agency one feels as a teen. Christina Smith’s thoughtful set rotates ever so slowly, mirroring the passage of what is likely the longest night of these kids’ lives, as a single street lamp beams down disturbing the cover of darkness.