After a memorable debut at Manchester’s Up The North Festival, this multi-person version of Twenties returns as a contribution to Online@theSpaceUK Festival. Written by Charlotte Anne-Tilley, who also plays the lead role, and produced by Kate Somerton, this version of Twenties is supported by a small cast, with the intention of visiting the Edinburgh Fringe this year as a one-woman show.
The play follows 21 year-old Hope, as she moves out of her childhood home in Cheshire to the bright lights of London. Twenties provides an opportunity for us to nostalgically relive those years, and all the emotions that come with them, when we’re working things out and attempting to find a pathway in life. We follow Hope as she encounters an array of new environments, from a dinosaur themed bar, to a nightclub and even some very grubby toilets.
The honest depiction of moving from a quiet town in Cheshire to the hustle and bustle of London is likely relatable to many, and representative of what it’s like to be a young Northern woman. However, the play certainly doesn’t show London in its best light; some parts feel obviously negative with an almost accusing tone. For us Northerners there are several humorous references, although they may not be fully appreciated by everyone.
Harry McMullen, Jess Parsons, Fiona Townsley and Zoe Birkbeck as the supporting cast join Charlotte Anne-Tilley in giving committed, emotive performances that are much needed when depicting a deep and challenging storyline. However, while they attempt to relate to each other through the camera, some of the conversations and transitions feel a little clumsy and awkward, hindering the overall flow.
Aimed at age 15+ and including adult themes and language, with a trigger warning for references to sexual harassment, Twenties is perhaps not a go-to if looking for a fun, light-hearted watch. Nevertheless, it’s thought-provoking and relatable, and at 30 minutes long an enjoyable, fast paced piece of theatre.