Teenage Trilogy

Tramway, Glasgow

Mary Brennan

four stars

In Teenage Trilogy, the opening installation - with videos, artwork and in yer face graphics - nails some vehemently independent-minded colours to the mast, albeit with an undertow of admitted insecurities. These rollercoaster moods and vulnerabilities will come centre-stage in the second section of Curious Seed’s unstintingly ambitious project, made in association with Perth Theatre and Tramway, and replete with material sourced from different generations at home and overseas.

On paper, this breadth of personal experiences hints at a massive challenge for Curious Seed’s director Christine Devaney and her creative team - can they compress a gallon-load of disclosures into a pint-pot of movement, music, spoken text and projected footage? What transpires is around 70 minutes of vivid dance theatre that could probably survive a few cuts - sorry ‘vintage teenagers’, you’re a joy in yourselves but a diversionary loop in the rough and tumble trajectory of the core cast depicting the awakening into adulthood of four very different teenagers. Karen Tennent’s set design takes the bedroom ‘refuge’ as a starting point, with the four dancers nesting among mattresses that they’ll reconfigure as they venture into significant landmark scenarios - everything from being bullied and excluded by peers, to tentative first encounters with sex and, maybe even scarier, love. Devaney’s choreography - sparkily delivered by Andrew Gardiner, Hayley Earlam, Nerea Gurrutxaga and Alexander McCabe - translates the internal maelstrom of teenage hormones into movement that wrenches and teeters, stills into moments of physical self-discovery or cuts loose into the sheer ecstasy of being young and on the cusp of future hopes. Luke’s Sutherland’s music caringly underpins the episodes while a live band (with actual teenagers) is a powerful driving force that - like the neon tubes on-stage - adds another layer of colour. The final section, a silent disco, allows the audience of all ages to recapture their own teen spirit.