Punk Rock Review – Daily Telegraph

Teen drama with powerful performances

August 05, 2012

STAGED so soon after the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado, which brought back memories of Columbine, Punk Rock feels extremely topical.

Those events may have taken place in the US but adolescent angst is everywhere and Punk Rock plugs powerfully into the emotional turbulence of being a teenager.

This terrific 2009 play by British playwright Simon Stephens is set in a selective high school where a group of articulate sixth formers hang out in a dingy library as they prepare for their mock A Levels – equivalent of HSC trials. It begins with the arrival of posh new girl Lilly (Darcie Irwin-Simpson), who is self-confident yet self-harming. The likeable, intelligent but troubled William (Sam O’Sullivan) falls for her and is devastated when he discovers she is dating the buffed Nicholas (Owen Little).

There’s also the bullying Bennett (Graeme McRae), his girlfriend Cissy (Madeleine Jones) whose mother will “kill her” if she doesn’t get straight As, the plucky Tanya (Rebecca Martin), and the science nerd Chadwick (Gabriel Fancourt) who is mercilessly picked on by Bennett.

Director Anthony Skuse draws exceptional, totally believable performances from his young cast. Punk Rock is gripping. Recommended.