The Blue Electric Wind – 4 stars

People’s Theatre, Newcastle.

The Blue Electric Wind is a new piece of writing, by ex-Royal Court Young Writer Brad Birch, commissioned by the National Theatre’s literary department specifically for young performers. It is, as would be expected, a great script with some interesting and complex ideas, and the cast of the Young People’s Theatre do an absolutely first rate job with it.

It is described as being a play about “why we remember what we do; about bravery and growing up.” These things are all evident in this 70 minute piece, but as the scenes and set pieces are played out there are other themes and ideas which present themselves – about forgetting things we’ve said, things we’ve done, and ultimately who we are – which cannot fail to resonate with audience members of all ages.

Characterisations are strong and well-drawn, and are very nicely played by the whole cast. The actors pull off the serious, dramatic and at times poignant moments in the script, just as easily as hitting the lighter comic moments. The whole ensemble appeared completely at ease on the stage and pulled off ‘teenage banter’ with ease.

The design adds another dimension to the piece, and evokes perfectly the sense of ominous uncertainty that pervades throughout.

This is the first time I have seen the youth theatre of the People’s perform, but on the strength of the talent on show tonight I certainly look forward to it not being the last.

(originally posted 22 February 2018)

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