Review: School Dance, by Matthew Whittet
Director Darlene Mohekey
Centrepoint Theatre, Palmerston North, to April 29
Reviewed by Mary Bryan
Centrepoint Theatre's opening production for the 2017 sets a very high benchmark.
In a non-stop 80 minutes the play highlights friendships, the importance of accepting others and almost all teenage school students' insecurities.
These insecurities can cause intense feelings of isolation to the extent some students feel invisible as two of the characters, Matt and Danika, feel.
But the play is not at all heavy going. It's totally unpredictable and takes the audience on a fantastic ride full of fantasy, fun and surprise.
It opens in the foyer of a 1980s-style school dance where three male students in their mid-teens are longing to go in, but feel they can't.
Matt (Kyle Chuen) is small for his age, painfully shy and believes he cannot dance. Luke (Chris Symon) has more bravado, but has some major hang-ups. Jonathon (Andrew Paterson) is outgoing but is openly gay (evident from his first appearance on stage) and as such feels the majority of students don't accept him.
Some of the reasons for the three males' problems are highlighted by a voice-over by a woman, who sounds like a very bossy teacher telling them at they are losers and do not know what to do with themselves.
Then there are Danika (Bronwyn Turei) who is so shy she hides away in the female toilets and Hannah (also played by Turei) who, although being all dressed up, spends the whole night dancing by herself.
The stand-out of the evening is definitely Turei. She plays Danika and Hannah, as well as two other female characters.
This has to be the best play I have ever seen on the subject; don't miss it.
For more information see www.centrepoint.co.nz.