Review: Youth And Destination (Manifesto Theatre Company)

Venue: Kings Cross Theatre (Kings Cross NSW), Apr 27 – May 12, 2018
Playwright: James Raggatt
Director: James Raggatt
Cast: Jack Angwin, Georgia Blizzard, Gloria Bose, Julia Christensen, Maree Cole, Skyler Ellis, Alex Malone, Bardiya McKinnon, Nikita Waldron, Ross Walker
Images by Emily Havea

Theatre review
There is no conventional narrative in James Raggatt’s Youth And Destination, only a series of short sequences that offer insight into his young mind. The brevity of scenes allows the playwright to touch on a broad range of topics over the course of an hour, but the format prevents sufficient depth from being reached, aside from occasional dialogue that might inspire a sense of intrigue that encourages us to see beyond the mundane.

There is much to admire in the young; they are often inquisitive, passionate and fearless. Wisdom, although never restricted to the mature, can however be elusive. On this occasion, thoughts expressed are honest and very earnest, but the lack of life experience is evident, and Raggatt’s attempts at circumspection will not be able to satisfy every member of audience. Some nonetheless, will see themselves accurately reflected, in this work by young people, for young people.

An exceedingly pleasant group of actors prove themselves accomplished, with no fiction to perform but instead, putting on stage a convincing semblance of the self. In the absence of more complex story lines, their task is to make compelling, snippets of modernity, whether banal or extraordinary. Star of the show is not an actor, but lighting designer Martin Kinnane, whose aesthetic inventiveness and technical excellence, bring to the production a necessary polish, along with rigorous calibrations of mood, from scene to scene.

The young can tell us so much about the world, but pinning down the meaning of life, is not usually their strongest suit. Youth And Destination is a sensitive work, slightly overcautious with how it wishes to be perceived. Whether young or old, we all have to grapple with how others look upon us; we are so fundamentally social. It is incumbent on the artist however, to be courageous, and to always be revealing of their own truth, especially that which is unique and idiosyncratic in quality. Few can claim to speak for communities, but when we return to the individual in an exhaustive and meticulous way, what we say about the personal can become unimaginably significant.

www.kingsxtheatre.com.au