ExpressWay Arts presents LOCKDOWN, a dramatic exploration of schooling life in 2020 and the troublesome teenagers attempting to escape its harsh realities. (Image source: ExpressWay Arts).

By Chelsea Shepherd | @Chelsea15183902

ExpressWay Arts LOCKDOWN is a dramatic tale about rebellious teens who continuously push the boundaries for people they love. Themes of bullying and peer pressure take centre stage as the group of friends try to navigate a tumultuous time in their lives.

Walking into The Carlew I felt a rush of excitement. The building and surrounding grounds look uncannily like a school which helps ground the play in its realism roots. Monica Prichard’s carefully crafted set immerses audiences in the drama with guests fingertips from the actors.

Sunny Berkin, Jazmine Cawley and Sarah Peters’ screenplay perfectly captures the real life struggles of adolescence in the 21st century. Not only is it relatable but it speaks to the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic. Berkin, Cawley and Peters have managed to expertly mimic the teens of today. Their witty dialogue not only offers comic relief but is guaranteed to tickle the funny bone of their intended audience.

Lauren Dibell is Alex, a relatively normal and stable teenager until she is corrupted by Hunter, played by Mia Freeman. Hunter is filled with anger and wants to take it out on those who have wronged her. Freeman’s performance is a particular highlight. Her moving portrayal of Hunter at the school crying and screaming about a grade shows how built up pressure in her home life affects her behaviour.  Their chemistry was perfectly balanced with Alex as the voice of reason and Hunter as the rebellious teen until Alex tries to prove her loyalty to Hunter and becomes the troublesome one.  

Eliza Barnes as Alana-Rey is a witty and sharp girl who struggles keeping friends around. Her closest friend JJ is played by Isaac Higgins. Her equal in both humour and stubbornness, banter soon ensues. 

Kaleb Bettes as Scribble is a lonely boy desperate for friendship. It’s hard not to sympathise with his desire to fit in with his peers. Kynan Hartley as Z is the easy-going and likeable larrikin of the group. He is often misunderstood which is why the pairing between him and Scribble is so pleasing. Their relationship develops significantly in a short amount of time and grows into a heartwarming display of friendship.

For such a young cast the show is performed to an incredible standard. The acting is expressive, gripping and encourages much needed laughter. LOCKDOWN is inspired by real life and the events that occurred in 2020.

LOCKDOWN is playing at The Carlew Ballroom until February 27 2021.

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