15 December 2023
We’re all about promoting the voice of youth and providing a platform for young people to share their experiences and develop their critical voice through our Ambassadors program. The views expressed are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of Canberra Youth Theatre or its staff.
Alexi Clark-Mitchell, one of our 2023 Ambassadors, reviews the Lucid Theatre Company production of People You May Know at The Courtyard Studio, Canberra Theatre Centre.
People You May Know, directed by Matt White, debuted at The Courtyard Studio last night, and for this being Lucid’s first show ever, they did a remarkable job. People You May Know is a funny, painfully relatable show full of clever references, which centres around the problem of the Internet: how it can be used for entertainment or humiliation, and the problems the world might face if the Internet suddenly went down.
The show begins at a familiar-looking party, one where some people are having a great time, such as love-struck Sadie (played by Ashleigh Butler), who has just come back from a date, or Frankie (played by Brandon Goodwin), who seems to inexplicably be having a good time despite the dead energy of the party. Others, on the other hand, are not – like Alex (played by Jessie Gooding), who is being relentlessly questioned about a series of nudes that were released many years ago by blunt and unsympathetic Bianca (played by Quinn Goodwin), or Teddy (played by Angela Weckert) who seems to have never been to a party before and is visibly freaking out. At this point, the party is completely dead, so the host, Isla (played by Erin Hawker), decides to break the awkward tension by announcing that she has been nominated for a prestigious award. Little does she know that a damning sex tape of her and her course convener is about to be released and ruin any chance she had at winning the award. Thankfully for Isla, the very next morning the Internet goes out.
This is the point where each character’s story starts to move away from one another’s. Some characters develop heartwarming connections, such as Teddy and Alex, who bond over Studio Ghibli, or others, such as Bianca, whose story takes an unexpected turn, becoming a hilariously entertaining detective plot to find out who released her sister Isla’s sex tape. This features a Scottish detective (played by Liam Mack) who no one but Bianca is able to see. All four of these actors worked wonderfully with their scene partners and really showed the true benefit of an ensemble piece.
Other stories, on the other hand, felt like they weren’t given much depth, such as the character of Isla herself, who falls into the background of her story which is really given to her sister Bianca; and her best friend Tara (played by IsobeI Sambridge), or Frankie, whose character’s purpose never really felt complete until the end, where we finally get to find out who Frankie is as he bares his soul in a late-night Maccas drive through. In moments like these, you see the show’s full potential and how wonderful it could be, though the plot was a bit winding and hard to piece together, and the whodunnit moment fell flat because the audience already knew who the culprit was. The piece still had many beautiful moments, and for a first production, Lucid has done a terrific job showcasing the overall message of connection and the wonderful actors and crew who helped to bring it to life.
Alexi Clark-Mitchell is an emerging actor who is passionate about the performing arts. They have been performing with Canberra Youth Theatre since 2019, including in the ensemble of Dags in 2022, and playing Chris in the Australian premiere of The Trials in 2023. They have recently completed a double major in Drama at Dickson College, where they performed in the school production Tess of the d’Urbervilles as Felix Clair and Retty Priddle. Alexi is interested in pursuing a range of opportunities in theatre, and is particularly interested in pursuing a career in film. As a non-binary actor, Alexi is able to portray roles across the gender spectrum.