What’s on in London on Sixteen Up
“Losing your virginity. Whether it’s a disappointing fumble in the dark of a mind blowing, life-changing experience, is something that most people remember. Sixteen, Box Clever’s dramatisation of a couple relating their first sexual encounter is undoubtedly memorable.
Resident playwright, Michael Wicherek’s sympathetic script begins with a couple as teenagers, separately recounting their feelings, and brings them together as they meet, many years later, street clothes replaced by suits, to find that they are still affected by the events of the past.
Accompanied by Jules Maxwell’s delicate and apt piano compositions, Adam and his frustratingly unnamed girlfriend display an emotional vulnerability and a down-to earth honesty that are too rarely seen on the stage door in reality for that matter). Poetic observations abound. “Blokes don’t get frightened, announces Adam, “they shit themselves, but they don’t get frightened”
The language of the lovers, a mixture of colloquialism and elegant, meaningful phrases delivered in free rhyming couplets, is littered with such gems as, “You stood like you understood.” They play with words, combatively, seductively, locked in a shared language. In a sense, the play is about language, about communication between people and the verbalisation of feeling.
“The play is a beautifully written, well acted and most importantly, a moving piece. No amount of audience detachment can survive witnessing the estranged lovers’ achingly poignant meeting.