Angus, Thongs and Even More Snogging – Review – West Yorkshire Playhouse
by Charlotte Scott, February 2012
This is the world premiere dramatic adaptation of the novels of the Leeds-born ‘No 1 teen queen’, Louise Rennison. It centres around the life of a melodramatic 14-year-old girl named Georgia Nicholson, her ‘ace gang’ and mad cat ‘Angus’. Georgia is on a mission to bag ‘Sex God’ band member Robbie (Edward Green). But in pursuit of reaching number ten on the snog-o-meter, Georgia struggles to choose between him and Italian ‘Love God’ Massimo (Leo Scott).
When arriving at the West Yorkshire Playhouse I am greeted by a DJ playing requests for ‘the biggest tunes of 2011’. Recalling my own school discos, this sets the scene for what is to become a very entertaining evening. This play provides a deliberately shallow view of adolescence. For Georgia and her friends the world revolves around ‘boy-doms’. The only thing they have to worry about are embarrassing parents.
This adaptation is silly yet clever throughout. It never tries to be anything other than entertaining. The performances by all the cast are energetic, innocent and very funny. In Naomi Petersen’s first professional stage performance she holds the play together brilliantly. She allows Georgia’s character to develop. Like most teens, she is then given the opportunity to learn from her mistakes. Here the narrative offers something a little less superficial than might be first anticipated.
“Grabs your attention”
Emily Houghton delivers a notable performance as the hilarious ‘Rosie’. She is excellent in every scene and provides the audience with continuous laughter and childish innuendos. Often they are followed by her favourite catchphrase: ‘Ooo-err’. The show is nonstop and well-suited to its audience. It grabs your attention with some clever slapstick comedy during an interpretation of Romeo and Juliet (aka ‘The Rom and Jules One Minute Round-Up’).
The evening is full of interesting surprises. It is all wrapped up in the ‘ace gangs’ own dialect, spoken in the occasional Yorkshire accent. Rhyming rock by boy band The Stiff Dylans provides an upbeat soundtrack for the performance, befitting of the show’s overall tone.
Two of the cast share the role of Angus the cat. They portray him by using a giant-size puppet. On first appearance this feels awkward and a little clumsy. However, once you’re used to the giant feline you definitely warm to him. Equally as awkward, a ventriloquist’s dummy is used to play Georgina’s little sister Libby. But turns out to be more creepy than entertaining.
In short, Angus, Thongs and Even More Snogging comes highly recommended for teens. It is an entertaining evening all round, guaranteed to provide plenty of laughter. Just be sure to leave your ‘maturiosity’ at home!
images: Keith Pattison