By: Grant Vance ~Staff Writer~
Chronicling the misadventures and anxieties of coming-of-age, Xavier Theatre’s presentation of Kenneth Lonergan’s “This is Our Youth” provided a fulfilling, well-performed entry into its expanding collection of successful shows.
Directed by Ed Stern, “This is Our Youth” follows the boyish Warren (Griff Bludworth), escaping his abusive home life and crashing with his troubled, narcissistic best friend Dennis (Mac Blais). During his time away from home, Warren experiences the exhilaration of stealing a large amount of money from his father, a semi-successful romance with his long-term crush Jessica (played by Tatum Hunter) and the pitfalls of aimless young adulthood.
The dynamic between Warren and Dennis drives most of “This is Our Youth’s” plot, establishing their relationship as an edgy, drug-fueled dependency.
These characters are so different and estranged from each other, making their friendly antagonism endearingly complex (imagine if Ferris and Cameron did cocaine in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”)
The successful execution of the plot alone makes “This is Our Youth” a success, but the show finds its true charm in its dorky humor and 80s era aesthetic.
Warren and Jessica’s encounter drives the play forward while also providing a large portion of the show’s laughs. Warren’s awkward mumblings along with Jessica’s charming bluntness is a humorous exchange and creates the heart of the play, as both characters find solace in their misspent youth through their connection.
The complexities and humor within Warren’s different relationships made the first act fly by, paced to perfection.
As fun as “This is Our Youth” was based on performances alone, the intricate set added a good amount of depth to the enjoyment as a whole.
The set did a great job of setting the period, but the practicality made it come to life. The falling shelves and record player created a more immersive experience.
The only place “This is Our Youth” fell short was an uneven pace following intermission, but this was justified through many poignantly and thought-provoking ideas shared between its three characters.
“This is Our Youth” provided a smart, humorous outlook into what it’s like to feel lost on the cusp of adulthood with a strong backbone of relatability and heart.