Groan Ups Review | The Lowry | Manchester
The six adult-sized six-year-olds of Bloomfield school already know what they want to be when they grow up. Presenting to the audience as part of their end of term presentation, Mischief Theatre’s latest offering is a warm and cosy comedy that runs through three stages of life. We follow the small friendship group as they showcase their critical changes, progressing from age six, to fourteen and finally, to their fading thirties.
This layered comedy celebrates the young and optimistic lives of its baby-faced cast with a relatable story about self-acceptance and perseverance. Mischief Theatre has produced a gentil, reflective piece to join their slapstick repertoire, filling the stage with a cheerful tale that primarily highlights the casts wonderful chemistry. Laying down the groundwork with archetypal characters, we are quickly introduced to the overzealous Spencer (Dharmesh Patel), rich girl Moon (Yolanda Ovide), smarty-pants Katie (Lauren Samuels), alongside nerdy Simon (Matt Cavendish) and new kid Archie (Daniel Abbott).
Despite stressing the highs and the lows of adulthood, this new story path remains consistent with Mischief’s aesthetic, with director Kirsty Patrick Ward and set designer Fly Davis producing interactive, eye-catching set pieces used for perfectly timed stunts. Playing with a tot’s perspective, the Lowry stage is filled with overwhelmingly oversized furniture for the adult-sized, child versions of themselves. The attention-grabbing sets are phased out as the group finally fumble into their careers/career-less lives and meet up at their high school reunion. However, the focus remains on the shows simple request to give yourself a break and appreciate your trudging journey into adulthood. Judging by the family-friendly audience that the Mischief group attract, their shows are always going to rekindle your inner child as they are joyously packed with a cast of free-range adults who are perfect at setting an audience at ease with their light-hearted humour.
Mischief Theatre has slowly decided to sidestep away from their niche visual gags and slapstick comedy to construct a real drama full of hilarious visual gags and slapstick comedy. However, the group still holds the same level of high energy humour at the forefront of this production. While breaking some dogmas and misleading myths about what it means to be a grown-up, this feel-good social comedy will hit home as an honest commentary on how difficult adulting really is.