Thursday, September 13, 2018


Written by Laura Lethlean
Directed by Katie Cawthorne
Canberra Youth Theatre
The Courtyard, Canberra Theatre Centre to 15 September

Reviewed by Len Power 12 September 2018

‘Fading’, the new production by Canberra Youth Theatre, looks at an issue that we will all have faced at a certain time in our lives.  At about age 18, after years of regimented school work and family life, the gates open wide and the pressure is on for individuals to make decisions affecting their future.  But how well-equipped are they to make those decisions and how do they feel as they undergo that important transition?

Melbourne writer, Laura Lethlean, has chosen a good subject to explore in theatrical terms.  There is a poetic quality to her writing that gives the show a dream-like aspect while confronting the issues head-on.  It’s not a deep character-driven play but the words are all-important.

Director, Katie Cawthorne, directs her enthusiastic young cast of eight in a lean production contained within bare black walls and with just a swing to symbolise childhood.    It’s very physical and energetic and the style is reminiscent of drama student theatre games.  The cast perform the struggle of leaving the comfort and familiarity of childhood behind with intensity and believability.

There are touching moments of reflection and fear by the characters, mixed with hollow bravado from individuals.  The most effective sequence shows the gap widening between the characters as they start to leave the safety of the group to pursue their individual futures.  The sense of envy, loss and isolation is very recognizable and real.

There is optimism at the end, thankfully, and maybe we got to that point a little too quickly but it’s a nicely written and well-performed show about an issue that will have each audience thinking back to their own experience, no matter how long ago it was.  The world may change but no-one will avoid undergoing this all important transition.  It was nice to be reminded and reflect on the choices made again.

Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast in his ‘On Stage’ performing arts radio program on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3.30pm on Artsound FM 92.7.