The audience was immediately made comfortable by the actors from Toot theatre company as they walked around the Studio Theatre in Derby chatting to us about music and the nineties.
Everyone was intrigued as we picked up the little pieces of paper on our chairs, on which we had to write a song that reminded us of our first love. That was only the beginning of the excellent audience participation we would experience throughout the production.
Different stories were woven into the show, each revealing a different side of teenage romance and how music influenced them.
Whether we were singing along to The Spice Girls or orchestrating the perfect romantic moment at a party (with not-quite-as-Terry-had-imagined consequences), everyone had a role to play.
One highlight was when we were asked to close our eyes as various objects were passed along the row. Each object had significance to the theme and stories that were being explored, such as a coffee cup or a rose.
There was a poignant contrast between the funny and heart-breaking moments – the breaking up of a close friendship, and dancing to Kylie Minogue after talking to her poster.
The minimal set – cardboard boxes, cassette tapes and lava lamps (the only things you really need in life) – the lighting, and of course, the music were all great and helped create the perfect atmosphere and emotions as the stories were unravelled.
The performance was full of happy, touching and sometimes cringe-inducing moments that were not only flashbacks to the nineties, but also strikingly relevant to teenagers today.
Overall, the performance held a strong message that while things like teenage crushes can have a lasting impact on your life, they’re not always as monumental as they feel at the time.
Be Here Now is a beautiful play and a fun experience. Toot made it enjoyable while delivering a powerful message about youth that leaves you thinking.
The cast were Clare Dunn, Stuart Barter, Terry O’Donovan, and their producer, Faith Dodkins.
This review was written by 17-year-old Bilborough College student Bethany Morledge, of Ilkeston.