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Ask Me Anything

“Big-hearted show buoyed by beautiful music”

With oceans of information available at your fingertips, is it actually any easier to find a real answer? Inspired by the magazine problem pages of their own youth, the Paper Birds’ Ask Me Anything is based on the letters the company exchanged with young people across the country. What questions did they have? Could the show provide answers?

Previewed last July and since revised, it’s set in an amalgam of teenage bedrooms (Rebecca Wood’s colourful, chaotic design is a delight), with input from an Alexa-Siri style-screen that provides commentary throughout.

The likeable, engaging cast members filter their responses through their own experience: Kylie Perry through a mock teen TV show, Georgie Coles through her old diaries, and musician Rosie Doonan through song. Recorded clips from others address the limits of that experience – for example, discussing what it’s like to be a black gay man or a biracial woman.

Well-meaning as it is, not everything coheres. The production feels occasionally disjointed and unevenly paced, and Doonan’s haunting vocals are underused. But it deftly balances humour with treating subjects from sex to suicide with sensitivity and care, and there are moments of real power. It asks not just what it is to be young today, but what is it that adults owe the younger generation, while recognising there is no easy one-size-fits-all solution.

But one message comes through clearly: at a time when young voices are drowned out in a landscape of constant online noise, it’s more important than ever to really listen.

Zest Theatre’s Toby Ealden: How can we get Generation Z into theatres?

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Production Details
Production nameAsk Me Anything
VenueLive Theatre
LocationNewcastle upon Tyne
StartsJanuary 30, 2020
EndsFebruary 8, 2020, then touring
Running time1hr 20mins
CreatorThe Paper Birds
ComposerRosie Doonan
DirectorJemma Mcdonnell
Set designerRebecca Wood
Lighting designerJoe Price
Sound designerShane Durrant
Video designerThe Media Workshop
CastGeorgie Coles, Kylie Perry, Rosie Doonan
TechnicalDarren Perry, George Riley
Production managerNick Allsop
ProducerThe Paper Birds
VerdictBig-hearted show buoyed by beautiful music that asks what it means to be a young person today
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Tracey Sinclair

Tracey Sinclair

Tracey Sinclair

Tracey Sinclair

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