DeoxyriboNucleic Acid

Dennis Kelly
Lyceum Youth Theatre
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
(2007)

A group of high school students take their teasing of an outcast a step too far, and their attempts to cover up what's happened make up the story of DeoxyriboNucleic Acid. Dennis Kelly's script is written in halting-yet-conversational language that's well-suited to the performers. If events move a bit slowly at times, or characters seem to drop in and out (some having only one or two brief appearances that leave one wondering exactly what their function in the story is), the clever manner in which the piece is put together makes this easy to forgive.

Performers Kirsty McKay, as the overly chatty Lea, and Liam Bartie as the deeply disturbed Brian turn in the most convincing performances, with Francesca Orkisz's brief appearance as Eve creating a pivotal moment near the end of the play.

The production is well-designed with a slick appearance and an electronic soundtrack that matches the pace and mood of Kelly's script to a T. In terms of staging, the only thing that is a bit distracting is the presence of a continuously lit DJ booth; although this serves to keep in mind the idea of a missing girl, it takes too long to place this for it to be effective throughout.

This is a solid production from the Lyceum Youth Theatre, with the standards of production, performance, and scope exceeding that of a good number of professional, adult companies.

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Rachel Lynn Brody