Theatre Review: Instructions for a Teenage Armageddon


There are lots of one-man plays. There are a decent number of one-woman shows. Where are the one-girl stories? This is Rosie Day's attempt to fix that imbalance.

Poster featuring lots of Polaroid photos of a teenager.

The plot isn't particularly original (it is hard being a teenage girl!!!) but the way the story unfolds is magical. It is witty, irreverent, and cringey in just the right amount. Charithra Chandran has easily enough stage presence to sustain the show alone. She takes up space and brings her various antagonists to life in a stunning display of thespianism. She effortlessly floats between witty teen-angst and a deeper, more profound pain.

The staging is a delight. A plain bedroom, enhanced with video projection, and a complete absence of production trickery. It really is Charithra alone up there - dragging us through her growing pains.

In an age of cheap and infinite content on Netflix, how do you convince kids to come to the theatre? Firstly, you cast a bone-fide Netflix star and, secondly, you make the tickets reasonably priced. Decent seats in the stalls are £25 - that's excellent value for a West End show. There are plenty of seats at that price and, although you can pay up to £60, the staging means a briliant view wherever you're sat.

And - judging by the predominate age of the audience - that strategy is working! The matinee audience was full of young women excitedly talking about the show.

This is what the West End needs more of. Not hyper-expensive productions (looking at you, Stranger Things), not cynical Disney movie cash-in shows, and certainly not yet-another jukebox musical - but brilliant actors, compelling stories, and sensible prices.

The show runs until 28th April 2024.

Verdict

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