Friday, July 1

Seven Minutes in Heaven – Traverse Theatre

Strange Town Youth Theatre brings us a 1-hour short play written by Edinburgh writer Shelley Middler exploring the struggles teenagers face in this current world. We get a glimpse into serious issues such as the sharing of personal pictures, the sexual pressures on young people today and discovery of sexuality, all of this is brought together in the setting of a small house party.

Every cast member has a chance to showcase their skills with an overwhelming abundance of characters, demonstrating some brilliant mime work and use of freeze frames and monologues. There’s an overall story that someone has been attacked and each of the characters have moments in which they are questioned by the police in their own spotlight. This is designed to keep the audience on their toes allowing them to try and piece together what exactly is going on.

Photo: Andy Catlin

It must be kept in mind that this is a youth theatre production with many of the performers still learning the craft. They all show brilliant confidence and understanding of their own individual characters, staying true to their roles even when the focus is elsewhere creating a realist house party dynamic.

Unfortunately, the writing is where the performance struggles, with too many characters and so little time it’s hard to build a true opinion on any of them. Each character arch is underdeveloped and so plays into teenage stereo types. It’s also difficult to follow as no character has more than a few lines before the attention is taken away to another story across the stage.

As a young person myself I truly agree with the subjects brought to attention however would have loved for them to be explored in more detail. If Middler had circled in more on her more predominant story lines such as teenage sexuality and peer pressure rather than the overall theme of “the pressures on modern teenagers”, she could really be onto something. That being said it was still an enjoyable piece of theatre, and one could tell a lot of effort and time had been put into it by all.

Reviewer: Beth Eltringham

Reviewed: 10th June 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★