Written by Colin Bateman and directed by Des Kennedy, Teenage Kicks was specially commissioned for 2013 and is a co-production by the Millennium Forum and the Nerve Centre.
This musical isn’t specifically about punk rock. It’s a story about teenage angst, frustration, lust, love and much more. Derry teenager Jimmy McMurphy, escapes Northern Ireland in 1981 by way of a student exchange programme (allegedly) to St. Francis Xavier High School in Iowa, America. The principal, Mr. Truman, is expecting to host a war damaged refugee, but finds himself and his students confronted by an exuberant, spiky-haired punk rocker who seems intent on bringing rock ‘n’ roll anarchy to his school – and breaking a few hearts en route. The burning question is: Is Jimmy who he claims to be?
Throughout this two hour show we are privy to an outstanding calibre of singing. The voices are simply stunning. The musicians are equally as entertaining. Through the music, these kids on stage tell the story of Jimmy and his cousin Kevin. Through their story we get to see just how much frustration there really is to teenage life. Friendship and individuality are qualities we sometimes forget to admire in teenagers. Comradeship is vital to this age group and they must be respected for it.
We get to see that parents have lived before children came along and did experience the same problems that these teenagers are going through now. Adults were not always sensible and strict individuals!! Even Mr Truman has a past!
This is one musical which parents and teenagers alike can go and see. There’s lessons, morals, and experiences for everyone. And there’s music. And it’s good. And it’s reminiscent of one of the best musical eras. You will hear Stiff Little Fingers, The Stranglers, The Undertones, The Buzzcocks and many more. It really does bring you back in time.
And if you sit through this and fail to tap the feet, clap the hands, you must surely be experiencing some other frustration deep within!