I really wanted to like this show. Really, really wanted to like it. Perhaps it was that I went with the expectation that the full range of youth experience would be represented but by the end I felt they had only perpetuated popular media myths. The yoof love a lot of things; they are influenced by American culture; they drink a lot of strong alcohol from a very young age (12 or younger) which means either a. sex or b. fighting or c. drink driving; they are disrespectful to their peers whether male or female. Extrapolating from some of the text (I interpreted) that they feel let down by some of the adults around them but feel powerless to change their situation and resent expectations that they should know to behave differently. This for me was the most honest statement during the whole thing.
It started so promisingly. An in your face, cleverly timed, back and forth across the stage by the ensemble. Intricate steps demanded spilt second timing and a bundle of energy. Some standout performances showcased both physical and acting skills. I liked the addition of percussionists to the side of the stage. Three quarters of the way through I was bored. I felt as though I was watching an adult???s pick of the issues that kids these days face. There is excellent choreography in there but sometimes I just couldn???t see it. Literally.* The final straw was the last piece danced to a song by The Cure. A great song but one for the generation before the generation before the one dancing.
So, beautiful dancing but it didn???t hit the mark for me.
*BTW designers ??? if you put someone in black, against a black floor and a black background then light them with dim lights then they will disappear and the audience won???t be able to see them. This is particularly frustrating when they are part of a group…unless of course it was a statement on how some kids are left out in the dark even when they seem to be part of a formal group in which case, well done, good design.
Who are you performed by UrbanYOUTHMovement,
Co-presented by Auckland Arts Festival and Black Grace
Tues/Wed 8/9 March 7.30pm Playhouse Theatre
Thurs-Sat 16-19 March 7.30pm Mangere Arts Centre