This Is Our Youth at The Garrick Theatre 2002

  • Date:
    Thursday, November 21, 2002
    Review by:
    Alan Bird

    A tale of drugs, sex and money as lived by sad little rich kids in Manhattan, New York during the Reagan era is powerfully portrayed in this black comedy by Kenneth Lonergan. Sadly, the plot reads like a morality tale. Hard drugs kill, crime does not pay and despite all the iniquities of dysfunctional family life, there is still no place like home.

    Dennis lives on his own, a drop out from college who relies upon his parents to provide him with the money to pay for his crummy one room apartment. He sees himself as a hard man, the street-wise kid who knows how to make a deal and who is merely biding his time before imposing his self-accessed talent upon the world. His friend Warren comes from a broken family, physically abused by his father and maladjusted. Add to their friendship $15,000 stolen dollars, a drug dealing scheme to raise money to replace what has been stolen, and plans on seducing the neurotic Jessica, and the stage is set for a series of worsening calamities, each one darker and more amusing than the last.

    Colin Hanks (Dennis) depiction of self-satisfied contempt and misplaced self-confidence remains homogeneously constant throughout the play and his eternal rant towards Warren does not allow for any development of the relationship between them.

    Kieran Culkin is magical as Warren. He cowers in fear before Dennis’ explosive personality, and prances around the stage with agitated energy. He purrs with content after his evening with Jessica and falls into an abject state of despondency when he realises that his hero Dennis is a fallible and broken idol.

    Alison Lohman makes the most of her role as the annoyingly self-obsessed immature Jessica.

    It is the relationship between Warren and Jessica that comes to the fore in this production whilst, in comparison, the one between Warren and Dennis blends into the background. This is detrimental to the production as a whole since the character of Dennis is dominant to the plot. However, so mesmerising is Kieran Culkin that he is more than able to compensate for this mishap.


    What other critics had to say.....

    NICHOLAS DE JONGH for THE EVENING STANDARD says, "An ungainly, charmless Colin Hanks....Kieran the production's sad, funny, saving grace." BENEDICT NIGHTINGALE for THE TIMES says,"Wittily written play." DOMINIC CAVENDISH for THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "A well-written piece." MICHAEL COVENEY for THE DAILY MAIL says, "The production seems slower and less urgent than before."

    External links to full reviews from newspapers

    The Times
    Daily Telegraph

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