Review: Birds and Bees

Charlie Josephine’s Birds and Bees captures teenage awkwardness perfectly, in the shadow of a school sexting scandal

“‘Cause us rowdy year tens, we’re not making it any easier for you”

My abiding memory of sex education at my high school is the relief felt as I managed to avoid being the one selected for the banana demonstration exercise. But in today’s altogether more digital age, teenagers are faced with a much more complex entry into the world of relationships, temptation and sex, particularly as they intersect with a deeper understanding of wider societal issues such as identity, mental health, consent and the use and abuse of social media.

It is into this world that Charlie Josephine’s new play Birds and Bees explodes as four students sit through 45 minutes of after-school detention in the aftermath of a sexting scandal. They’ve been tasked with writing a speech to dissuade their classmates from taking or sharing explicit pictures but warring couple Leilah and Aarron are deep in their feelings, neither of them can stand the nerdy Maisy and non-binary Billy seems just too cool to get drawn into all this drama. Continue reading “Review: Birds and Bees”

Review: Be Prepared, VAULT Festival

“I can’t get on the bus cos I’m waiting for this old man to call”

What is the right way to grieve? Is there even such a thing? Ian Bonar’s Be Prepared throws up such questions as we meet Tom, and by extension Mr Chambers, who are having a tough time of it.  Tom is mourning the death of his father, Mr Chambers the loss of his wife but thing is, they don’t know each other. The only reason they’re in contact is because the elderly Mr Chambers keeps mis-dialling Tom thinking he is a funeral director.

And as writer/performer Bonar takes to the stage in a brilliantly conceived opening, we get to see how this accidental meeting develops into something of a life-raft for the pair of them, a way of starting to process the discombobulation that accompanies the death of a loved one. The shots of weird dark humour that pop up in the most unexpected of places, the strange comfort that comes from unburdening to someone who doesn’t know you, the distressing weight that feels like it will never lift.

Continue reading “Review: Be Prepared, VAULT Festival”