Junkyard at the Rose Theatre Kingston: Reviewed

Set in Bristol it is 1979; this unashamedly honest and wonderfully witty show, follows the lives of a group of 13 year old kids and their enthusiastic teacher.

Through the play we watch this bunch of misfit, neglected kids come together to form friendships and find a sense of self-worth.

Erin Doherty as Fiz and Enyi Okoronkwo as Talc (background) @Manuel Harlan

Though this is very much an ensemble piece, Fizz (Erin Doherty ) does a little show stealing. That feisty, mouthy type, who turns out to have more front than Brighton, strangely struck a cord with me!

I’m sure as you watch the show you’ll find that one or other of these teens will make you look back and draw parallels to your youth, and in everyone you will find a hint of your inner teen.

This is very much a laugh-a-minute play, but littered with short sharp stabs of pain and tugs on the old heartstrings. A combination that mimics the often-erratic mood of a teenager trying to make head or tail of their emotions.

l-r Josef Davies (Ginger), Erin Doherty (Fiz), Jack Riddiford (Higgy), Enyi Okoronkwo (Talc), Seyi Omooba (Tilly) @Manuel Harlan

I had wondered about the use of actors in their mid to late 20’s playing that of teens, but my god it works. The twitchy energy they bring to the roles is electrifying. They are completely true to the devil may care, indestructible attitude of a teenager; yet beneath, allowing the ever awkward and often vulnerable side out perfectly. You cannot help but watch it and want to rush up and give Talc (Enyi Okoronkwo) a hug and tell them that if he can just make it through to his 20’s, things may just get better.

I must say that musicals aren’t my preference when it comes to the world of theatre, however this is no standard musical.  The songs are more than catchy show tunes filled with fluffy lyrics. Instead, they emulate the music of the time and most are a definite a throwback to the 2 Tone Ska style of the time. They don’t stand alone but instead flow within the dialogue expanding on the characters in a natural and unforced way.

For me the only let down was the latter end of the second half. As it slows, it begins to veer toward the traditional feel of a West End musical and almost to the point of cliché.

@Manuel Harlan

Junkyard is fun, rebellious, and unapologetically honest. An almost completely anti-musical musical and for that I love it. ****

You can book tickets here and if you are under 26 look out for the under 26 ticket offers, as you could end up with an absolute bargain, I paid just £8.50 and got an incredible seat.

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