DramaNorth East & YorkshireReview

We Are The Best! – Live Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne

Reviewer: Anna Ambelez

Writer: Lukas Moodysson

Adaptor: Rebecca Glendenning

Director: Jack McNamara

A good way to open a show is with a bang and Live Theatre certainly open their new season with one.

Coco Moodysson’s Swedish cult novel Never Goodnight inspired her husband, Lukas, to make the film We Are The Best! and Rebecca Glendenning adapts the story for stage for this world premiere production.

One is drawn into the performance from the off, with a headmistress (Stacy Ghent) getting onto the stage and  asking all to pay attention as she introduces a ‘dress rehearsal’ for their annual talent show. Ghent plays several characters all with a deft comic timing and, like her ‘daughter’, has a good singing voice. Ghent’s opening speech also introduces the central characters. This is a story about youth growing up, trying to find themselves and establish their identity.

Set in the 80s, three school girls decide to change the world, starting with theirs and form a band. Bobo (Bethany Harris), feeling outcast and nervy, joins with her only friend, the bravado anarchic Klara (Bridget Marumo). They persuade quiet Hedwig (Elena Porter) with a melodic voice to join them.

Much of Bobo’s character is revealed in scenes with her mother (Anna Bolton), a party girl since the husband left. Bolton also plays other characters inhabiting each one totally. Hedwig’s mother (Ghent) also exposes family relationships. The cast is completed with Sunderland raised Beruce Khan playing several characters with humour, even the one where he has a box on his head!

Seeing a solid show strong in all areas is not that common but this one is; compelling story line, well cast and lit (Lucia Sanchez Roldan), ingenious yet simply designed set (Lily Arnold), live dynamic music (Mariam Rezaei) and strongly directed by Jack McNamara.

Northeast talent and youth are well represented, from those who either trained, were born or, like Glendenning, are Newcastle based.  “….governments…are b*st*rds…starving people…doing wars and polluting the earth. We need to do something or we’re as bad as them….” Sound familiar?  The exuberant youthful company somewhat reflect the subject, offering a slice of rebellious hope for the future, a sentiment not too far removed from many minds today.

The packed, laugh out loud audience certainly showed their appreciation and if you are lucky enough to see it you will see why.

Runs until 18th June 2022

The Reviews Hub Score

Engaging and energetic

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The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Jacob Bush. 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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