Instructions for a Teenage Armageddon

Instructions for a Teenage Armageddon is a wonderful look into the lives of teenage girls and the things they deal with daily. A dark comedy from Rosie Day which first started life as a novel is now taking to the Garrick Theatre stage starring Charithra Chandran in her West End Debut performance. 

We first meet ‘Girl’ in her bedroom, at 13 years old Taylor Swift is her god and the weekly scouts group she attends is her only solace in a tough world. She opens telling us of the tragic passing of her older sister Olive who succumbed to an eating disorder.  We move through the next few years of her life at perfect pace, certain moments being picked out such as making new friends, her first night club experience and gaining a new step-sister. 

Charithra is sublime in this role, with the ability to play a young naivety, slowly transitioning throughout the piece to a stronger, harder young woman. Charithra is a wonder to watch bringing this piece to life, commanding the stage and the audience are enthralled in her storytelling. 

There are highs and lows throughout the play, jokes come thick and fast in the earlier sections before we move to a darker more intense place which caused several tears from audience members. This piece is incredibly relatable to all teenagers, specifically a teenage girl. There are situations that we have all experienced and got through together. 

Clever set design from Jasmine Swan utilises the space well, with a minimalist bedroom and props being stored in 'Girls' wardrobe, the bare walls allows the video design to really shine. It enhances the play and allows it to transform into different spaces as the various stories are shared with us. Dan Light has developed insightful video design into the play with the characters of Mum and Day being displayed at points on the back wall, it has a feel of watching someone's memories back while immersing us in their world. 

With direction from Georgie Staight, this is a delightfully well thought out production. With focus on the storytelling, each section being divided by a description of the next scout badge being gained by the lead character. Pacing did feel a little slow at times and some sections could have been tightened up. 

This show is aimed at current and previous teenage girls. The former will hopefully learn that they are not alone in the situations and feelings they are going through, the latter leave reminiscing on their younger years feeling validated and secure in their growth to adults. 

This show was reviewed on the 17th March 2024 at the Garrick Theatre, London.  Tickets available here: Instructions for a Teenage Armageddon - Nimax Theatres

Reviewed by Rosie Browne

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Photo credit: Danny Kaan

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