The Only Way Is Chelsea’s review

Wriiten by Frazer Flintham. Directed by Jane Fallowfield.

The Only Way is Chelsea’s is a genuinely funny play about a girl who is trying to reinvent her life by creating a false reality.

Chelsea is a 14-year-old girl whose life is in a mess like the garage where she and her two friends, Lee and Dionne, hangout and watch reality TV. It is this TV format that inspires Chelsea and Dionne to create a reality TV programme of their own in an attempt to win Chelsea friends at her new school and the attention of the boy she fancies.

The play deals with contemporary issues that affect young people. It looks at crisis of identity and the dangers of the Internet specifically the power Facebook can have over people. It is Chelsea’s desire to be ‘Facebook famous’ that drives her to create her reality TV show in the first place. The underlying issue that the production team examine is the effect of reality TV on children and young people. During the cleverly choreographed joining scenes we hear real people speaking about their concerns around reality TV. These sound bites were collected by the production team during their extensive research into the subject. As this was a youth production, aimed at young people, it was refreshing to see how they deal with issues that concern their target audience in an amusing and accessible way.

The space is used ingenuously to demonstrate the story arc. Everything we see happens within that small space. The three brilliant cast members held my attention for the whole two and a half hours whilst talking about actions that had happened elsewhere. The actors make their characters and the situation believable, and their comic timing is impeccable. The story is gripping, funny and thought-provoking. The script written by Frazer Flintham perfectly keeps the balance between comedy and drama. I thoroughly enjoy it and the rapturous applause at the end told me I was not the only one.

Only Way Is Chelsea’s is at Live Theatre on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 October presented as part of Juice – NewcastleGateshead’s award-winning festival for children and young people produced by NewcastleGateshead Initiative.

FREE post show discussion will take place 10 minutes after the end of the 8pm performance on Saturday 26 October.
Live Theatre’s Director of Education Paul James hosts an exclusive discussion about reality TV with Tom Whalley and Evie Dodds from BBC’s Shop Life, along with the play’s writer, director and cast. Free, Reservations recommended.

Jenny Anderton
Cuckoo Young Reviewer
Jenny attended press night of The Only Way Is Chelsea’s at York Theatre Royal as part of the Takeover Festival.

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