Theatre Review – ‘Millennials,’ University of Leeds Open Theatre Society, Alec Clegg Theatre, 25-27th February 2016

As a member of a generation of millennial children and teenagers, I’ve always been consciously aware of how jarring it is to straddle two centuries and to not know how comfortable to be with the changes that are happening to our generation that are faster than we can track. Open Theatre Society’s production of Millennials, written by Jonny Dowsett, attempted to explore this burgeoning generation and provide a “powerful insight into both the perception and reality of millennial children across the world.”

The ensemble cast, made up of Louisa Partridge, Leah Taylor, Riccardo Bianco, Poppy Mathieson, Isobel Van Hagen, Denys Woolley, Damilola Adeyeye and Chloe Lovatt formed a strong, multirolling unit that stylistically guided us through the millennial age; from its beginnings (cue Pulp – Disco 2000) to our blissfully bratty toddler days of making mud pies (cue Kids – MGMT) to our later, apathetic teen years. Make no mistake, though; the play didn’t merely blithely moan about our technology-obsessed generation, but wittily created scenarios that were then analysed in a series of engaging monologues – from a hilarious scene of two “gap yaaar” girls from the home counties fawning over an African conservation project and how they “simply MUST upload their travels to Instagram,” to some genuinely heart-wrenching mother-and-son scenes from Isobel Van Hagen and Damilola Adeyeye. Millennials took me through a rollercoaster of emotions; Denys Woolley’s attempt to woo was hilariously nostalgic of that one cringe-tastic boy everyone knew from secondary school (no Danny, Emma won’t sleep with you, no matter how many times you say she has nice eyes), yet Damilola Adeyeye adopted many roles that made me look at myself in an unsettling way; how our generation can be completely oblivious to wider issues overseas because we’re so fixated on our phone screens and social bubbles. Millennials was a well-crafted and intimately thought-provoking piece of theatre that will resonate with me for a while (how did they miss the opportunity to blast “My Generation” by The Who though? Seriously?).


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