Millennials – The Other Palace, London

Reviewer: Miriam Sallon

Writer and Composer: Elliot Clay

Director: Hannah Benson

Upon arriving at the ticket desk, an usher directs you to follow the trail of avocado stickers down the stairs, through to a room full of flotation noodles hanging from the ceiling for a sort of rebirthing experience. You’re then welcomed into a millennial thirteen-year old’s dream chill space, complete with pink foil curtains, neon lights, bean bags, blow-up chairs and a tiny trampoline built in to the middle of the stage. It’s so ridiculously over the top, the audience is primed for a gloriously self-aware, kitch-tastic, irony-dripping song and dance.

The thing is, the avocado stickers are pretty much the first and last display of self-awareness, and everything after that is almost insistently earnest. A cast of six comes bounding on stage with Lizzie McGuire energy levels, singing their bloody hearts out about break-ups, self-esteem, childhood dreams revisited, and depression. None of it seems especially ‘millennial’, barring the song titled, Millennials – “always trending, always spending” – which is also completely without any irony.

All this wide-eyed enthusiasm recalibrates the noughties décor and over-egged millennial wardrobe – denim-on-denim-on-denim, pocket-chained combat trousers, crimped hair and chunky trainers galore – as a bunch of 30-year-olds living out their teenage fantasy aesthetics, rather than laughing at themselves and the millennial stereotypes.

The songs aren’t especially catchy, and some of the lyrics are bizarre. One song, about a young woman who forgets her love for music (Someday), genuinely includes the lyric “She swears she heard her guitar say, ‘Ah there you are’”, again, delivered with absolute sincerity. The closing Millennials reprise includes, “One millennial lives, while another one dies”, as though being born in the ‘80s were an incurable disease. The point of the show, if there is one, never really makes itself known, and there’s no narrative, or character progression to speak of.

With all that being said, ten minutes in, as bubbles start cascading from the ceiling and the cast, having failed to get the audience on their feet, carry on having the best time ever, their enthusiasm is absolutely contagious and you can’t help but find yourself rooting for them.

It also helps that everyone is insanely talented. Georgina Onuorah and Hiba Elchikhe lead the pack as diva-level powerhouses, moving through multiple octaves with syrupy ease. And it’s a joy to see Rob Madge living their best life, after last year’s autobiographical coming-of-age show My Son’s A Queer But What Can You Do? explored their childhood dreams of singing on stage.

If this show were any longer, it would be a complete dud. But at just under an hour, there isn’t really enough time to get bored or agitated, and somehow the combination of bubble machines, yards and yards of pink tinsel and six unbreakable spirits transforms this show into a pretty entertaining evening.

Runs until 7 August 2022

The Reviews Hub Score

Surprisingly entertaining

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The Reviews Hub - London

The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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