Glory Days

Fri 2nd – Sat 17th August 2013

reviews

Patty McCabe

at 00:26 on 11th Aug 2013

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The Bromely Contingents’s ‘Glory Days’ coincides with the final season of ‘Skins’, the epitome of the coming-of-age drama of my generation (the early twenty-somethings). It had very similar elements: love-triangles, tested friendships, even a lesbian couple. Unfortunately, unlike the television series, Gemma Carmen’s script possessed none of the potency, and the types portrayed often appeared as caricatures. The flyers suggest that the play asks the question ‘What did you do the summer you left school?’. Well, I certainly would not have chosen to watch this!

One of the few moments of lucidity in an otherwise puerile script, Allison (Rebekah Lucking) manages to capture the essence of the late-teen year with the line “This is one of those problems that you have that just isn’t problem.” The script was never genius, although in parts it was mildly entertaining and despite its shortcomings, I did find myself becoming slightly attached to characters. This, however, was definitely down to the actors, who surprisingly managed to hold the performance together despite the paucity of depth and character in the script itself.

The use of verbatim theatre between scenes was highly original, much to the credit of the director Chris Gunning, and certainly provided an interesting dual-perspective – characters were living and reflecting on the glory days simultaneously. Although the accents were dubious at times (each character suddenly adapted a regional accent), this was an interesting touch in an otherwise rather ordinary production.

The stand-out performance of the show came from Rebekah Lucking as Allison; her drunken staggering was naturalistic, she remained refreshingly funny, and was by the far the most likeable character in the group. Stefan Taylor as Tom had the hardest time as the only male member of the cast and in possession of the some of the most cringe-worthy lines; my personal favourite being when he declares “you’re trying to be something you’re not" when Sophie (Hannah Stanton) puts on a blue dress. Maddies (Alex Tildesly) was by far the most nuanced and most believable character. The combination of Tildesly and Lucking ensured that their romance was not overshadowed by the melodrama of the love triangle involving Tom, Sophie, and Ellie (Hannah Aldrige).

Despite a valiant effort from both the director and the actors, the major failing of ‘Glory Days’ was the script. Just as any building, however architecturally beautiful is facades, lacking in solid foundation will collapse, this performance was severely handicapped from the start. Just for the record – there is no Lancaster College at Durham University!

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Millie Morris

at 10:49 on 11th Aug 2013

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On the brink of responsibility, Glory Days promises to ‘celebrate saying hello and waving goodbye’, as it depicts a life-slice of five school friends who are about to go their separate ways after the toils of A levels. ‘Celebrate’ it does not quite appear to do, where change is feared, lamented and acts as the instigator of pressing tension within the group – however, it is fair to say this production does well to cement modern concerns and accurately depict teenage angst through the characters’ so-called days of their lives.

Sadly, there is nothing glorious about 'Glory Days'’ dialogue – viewing this play is like sitting in on an everyday conversation, empty of subtext and, at times, attention-shiftingly mundane. There are a few comic quips, however, which are met by chuckles from the audience, and delivery is confident and realistic. Perhaps that is the problem – being so close to realism, is it easy to forget that this is theatre, and at times I feel I could join in with the easy and naturalistic conversation. I want to snatch the script and let loose with a red pen, strip down the superfluity to a punchy, engaging show, laden with subtext and implicit meaning.

The actors, to their credit, all do a decent job – if a little swift at times, they are certainly convincing as post-schoolies who are about to embark upon what could be the most exciting time in their lives. Issues raised are more than relevant to those who currently find themselves in the characters’ shoes, where concerns of travel, university and full-time work are at the forefront of these young minds, and will leave an indelible mark on the cosy circle of friends they have built around them since childhood. Characters themselves emit a palpable chemistry and provide believable personas – the veiled fondness Alison (Rebekah Lucking) harbours for her best friend Maddie (Alex Tildesley) is particularly touching.

It is only in hindsight that I feel I can give a little more merit to this production, after learning that it uses verbatim – this would explain the questionably diverse accents used by the characters when they seemingly assume other roles between scenes, and talk nostalgically of relationships, holidays and old friends. Some express a mild yearning for a pre-technological age, whilst others note that without Facebook they would not be able to keep in contact with old faces from the past. Like the way that feminism is lightly introduced into the play, these short monologues offer interesting perspectives, yet are far from didactic or conclusive.

As a coming-of-age play which comes off as less poignant than is intended, Glory Days is a sufficient piece of youthful drama; mediocre in language, but certainly true to life.

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