Mischief Theatre have established themselves as one of the best creators of comedy plays over the past decade, and Groan Ups is one of their most recent additions – and following a successful West End stint, it’s currently touring the UK with a stop at Norwich Theatre Royal this week.
You might have heard of the multi award-winning Mischief Theatre through the success of their other productions such as The Play That Goes Wrong, Peter Pan Goes Wrong and TV’s the Goes Wrong Show on BBC1 to name but a few; however Groan Ups is something a little different.
It’s a brand-new comedy, all about growing up. It makes us question if we choose who we become, or is the story of our lives already written? And do we ever really grow up?
The story begins when we meet an unruly classroom of six year-olds, comprised of five children who each have very different roles and personalities. All of which gives an insight into what lies ahead, as we follow their journey through the anarchic high school teenagers and into the challenges of adulthood. And along the way, we are met with a hearty helping of chaos ensuing.
Essentially, the play is broken down into three acts: Year Two, Year Nine and the School reunion. In year two, it is the perfect set-up for the people they might become as it shows that childhood can shape a huge part of who we are. Year nine allows us to expand on this, but also see the slight shift as they prepare for who they might become as adults. The school reunion then blends who they are now with who they want to be. It makes them all question if they are really following the right path.
All this happens with something Mischief does best – a lot of comedy. Think fast-paced, chaotic, farcical fun; with the added pain of relatability, as I think many of us found ourselves reminiscing of our schooling journeys and could see parts of ourselves or people we know in the character. It was very clever and had the auditorium laughing out loud throughout. While still holding some very important food-for-thought moments and encouraging us to think about who we are, who not to be, and who we could be.
Something that stood out to me the most was the impressive transition between the characters by the cast, because something about acting an obvious time jump and growth is particularly impressive. To be an adult acting as a child takes a lot of work to make it convincing, yet this cast of five make it look easy. It was a 10/10 cast all-round.
If you’re looking for a night of laughs-a-plenty, this is the show to see!
Groan Ups runs at the Norwich Theatre Royal until Saturday 20th November.
Visit norwichtheatre.org for more information or to book.
The show then continues on tour: www.groan-ups.com.