Seventeen review: An exploration of the quirks of pissed up post-exam youngsters

Edwin Evans-Thirlwell
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Seventeen at Lyric Hammersmith (Source: Tristram Kenton)
Seventeen
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Premiered in Australia and reproduced for the Lyric Hammersmith, Matthew Whittet's tale of smalltown British teens getting sozzled after finishing their A-levels is a gentle love-letter to the clumsiness of adolescence, as portrayed by a cast of middle-aged actors.

The characters should be immediately familiar, from coming-of-age fiction if not firsthand experience – a prancing bad boy, a long-suffering best pal, an alpha girl with a heart of gold, a “frigid princess”, a jeering kid sister and the much-abused class weirdo. Their clashes and revelations in the course of this night-out are predictable, too. Hearts are broken, secrets laid bare, grudges mended.

Contemporary references feel a little arbitrary: there are smartphones and a Rihanna dance number, but no mention of social media, for instance. But the cast make up for these wobbles, capturing the quirks of youngsters finding their feet without (entirely) descending into farce. A poignant but undemanding production.

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