Instructions For a Teenage Armageddon, Southwark Playhouse | Review

Friday, 11 February 2022

Instructions For a Teenage Armageddon
Southwark Playhouse
Reviewed on Thursday 10th February 2022

Currently playing in The Little at the Southwark Playhouse, Instructions For a Teenage Armageddon is a solo show performed expertly by Rosie Day who also wrote the script (and the book on which it's based). With direction by Georgie Staight, it's an incredibly well written and performed social satire which broaches and discusses some incredibly emotional topics. 

At 75 minutes long it's quite impressive how much Day is able to fit into this painful coming-of-age story and it really is an intense rollercoaster. The show is a series of monologues from a witty, introspective teenager who is trying to cope with the death of her sister as well as teen betrayal, manipulation, isolation and trauma. What is a very deeply dark show is made lighter by looking at it all through the main characters eyes as she frames each section with gaining a new scout badge.

The entire show uses quick, clever prose and black humour which consistently walks the line of being too much, but always adds to the story and characterisation of the leading lady. What's particularly striking about the show is that you're seeing real trauma of a child brought to life; and aside from the more intense topics broached, many aspects are, unfortunately, hugely relatable for girls and women everywhere. The idea of altering who you are to fit in to societal norms and hiding pain behind humour is something many people grow up doing, and the pressures on girls to look and act a certain way never seems to change no matter how many developments are made. At the end of the day Instructions For a Teenage Armageddon acts as a fable or a cautionary tale on why we need to support one another and have open and honest conversations about mental health amongst other things.

Instructions For a Teenage Armageddon is incredibly engaging throughout, with Rosie Day bringing every story to life brilliantly and giving an outstanding performance. The use of projections also adds another element and make it feel more well rounded. Isabella Pappas' on screen performance is particularly memorable. This is an extremely timely, intense show that is expertly performed.

photo credit: Mark Senior