Writer: Josh Overton
Director: Rob Salmon
Reviewer: Paul Couch
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.”
– Philip Larkin
When we’re 16 years old, we know everything, don’t we? We know who we’d have running the country if we were old enough to vote. We’re old enough to have sex and to join the military but not to buy alcohol or cigarettes. Life’s not fair when we’re 16 and the latest work from People You May Know, St*p*d F*ck*ng K*ds, seeks to address the belief of the older generation that “they don’t know they’re born”.
If our kids are lazy and lack aspiration, is it their fault, or ours for bringing them up in a world of instant celebrity for no effort, and where notoriety is often seen as preferable to being a role model? We teach them to accept blindly everything they’re force fed by the media and then fail to support them when those flimsy truths crash down around them. Philip Larkin’s axiom “They f*ck you up, your mum and dad” has never rung so true.
We conveniently ignore the fact that today’s teenagers are bombarded hourly by peer pressures we never even dreamed of; media stimuli that our parents were able to protect us from, and routine horrors that only appeared in our worst nightmares.
This two-hander by former New Wolsey Theatre Young Associate Josh Overton pretty much succeeds in putting to bed any myth that the two young people in question, Tom Beattie and Charlotte Sheehan, have easy lives. It’s not a comfortable watch – the profanities and vulgarities come thick and fast but this generation is so anaesthetised to bombs that would have had our own parents coughing up their Vesta curries and Double Diamonds at the dinner table that they are now a part of the everyday vernacular.
Though, if it’s the aim of St*p*d F*ck*ng K*ds to bridge the gap between generations, it has some little way to go. Quieter, introspective moments are the most effective – the frantic bellowing, thrashing and whining only manage to reinforce the Oldies’ misconception that teenagers are fuelled by hormones and the desire to cause as much mindless disruption in the shortest possible time.
That said, these were confident and assured performances by Beattie and Sheehan, even if the Overton’s heavy-handed script does stereotype them slightly.
Amendment: The company have now informed us this is a work in progress showing. Therefore, in line with our work in progress policy, we have removed our earlier star rating.
Reviewed on 5 June 2017
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