BROKEN BUSCUITS, 3Star***, Bham and Touring

3 Stars ***

Birmingham Rep: The Door, to 3rd December 2016.
Runs: 1hour 20, no interval.
BO: 0121 236 4455
Review: Nigel Bellingham, 29/11/2016.

A feel-good treat
Broken Biscuits is a heart-warming play about the difficulties of growing up and the friendships that are forged in the turbulence of adolescence. Ben, Holly and Megan have found their time at school difficult: they’ve been bullied, they’ve come to the conclusion that they’re uncool, and they now face a long summer awaiting their GCSE results whilst pondering how life might be different once they start at their new college- that’s if they get in, obviously. In amongst all of this confusion Megan manages to get hold of a drum kit and encourages her friends to try and start a rock group in a bid to boost their social capital in time for the college’s first round of ‘Battle of the Bands’ in September.

Tom Wells’ writing is excellent. There are lots of comic moments as the trio devise new songs with Holly’s story about her crush on a stranger called Dean, who visits her checkout at the local supermarket every Thursday, standing out as a particular highlight for me. Alongside all of this, though, the play poses wider questions about what it means to be ‘cool’, and in an age where so many of us seem to be preoccupied with maintaining our image on social media it is refreshing to watch a performance which unashamedly celebrates the joy of just being yourself.

Although the storytelling is strong it is occasionally marred by clumsy staging. The scene transitions are too long, and, whilst it is appropriate when the band are starting out and experimenting, it is unfortunate that some of the lyrics of their final song are obscured by the noise of the instrumental accompaniment. Nevertheless, Broken Biscuits will definitely appeal to anyone who want to sample a feel-good treat before Christmas, and, if you’re anything like me, you’ll still be singing some of Matthew Robins’ brilliant songs long after you’ve left the theatre.

Megan: Faye Christall
Holly: Grace Hogg-Robinson
Ben: Andrew Reed

Director: James Grieve
Assistant Director: Anna Ryder
Music: Matthew Robins
Design: Lily Arnold
Lighting: Joshua Pharo

2016-11-30 20:09:20

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