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Archive for February 19th, 2009

This was a play, from a book written by Vivian French using her actual experience dealing with pregnant teenagers and directed by her daughter, Jemima Levick.      It was about two 15 year old schoolgirls from very different backgrounds who find themselves pregnant and who go on to have a baby each.

Posh April (Hannah Donaldson) with her designer clothes, perfect hair and snow white trainers and pink haired black lipsticked street-goth Pinkie (Ashley Smith) are recruited to give a talk to a school, clearly to present the message that having a baby at 15 is difficult, and looking after one is an ongoing 24/7 commitment…… and don’t have sex …… ever!    But the stories don’t quite convey the message the authorities want to hear.

The acting and direction was spot-on, but the play fell down on its obviousness, and the themes it never quite got to:    why did posh April’s mum chuck her out of the house, yet Pinkie’s mum allow her to stay at home?    Why did April’s mum continue to have minimal contact after the baby was born.     I was also not completely convinced by the relationship between April and Pinkie, but perhaps that was the point.   And why was there no mention of what it was actually like to have to leave school and school friends early?     And how did pregnancy affect the very different social circles of both girls?

I was not sure what to take away from this play, except that we should not perhaps judge 15 year old pregnant girls too harshly.     Other than that, this was a bit thin.   The two 17 year old girls who came with us thought so too.

But is was good to catch up with actors Hannah Donaldson, seen in Romeo and Juliet at Dundee, and Sunset Song in Perth, as well as Ashley Smith, last seen ankle-deep in water in Nasty Brutish and Short.    And Jemima Levick, who also directed a wonderful Beauty and the Beast at Dundee Rep is a director to watch in the future.

Coming in the week that the UK’s youngest Dad at 13 has been feted in all the papers, and the week that we discover that the 15 year-old mother has possibly been dividing her attentions round the community, the play was certainly topical.

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