February Face

Keelan Kember
King's Head Theatre

Listing details and ticket info...

February Face Credit: Ollie Kember
February Face Credit: Ollie Kember
February Face Credit: Ollie Kember

February Face is an example of twenty-somethings writing about what they know best: each other. As such, it is an entertaining reflection on the neurosis of navigating ‘feelings’ as a young adult today.

Mental health is a phrase that has become synonymous with Gen Z, and so putting a young man experiencing anxiety and panic at the centre of the romantic action makes sense. Using voice-over as a way of colouring in the other characters in his life—mates, mum etc—while creating an economical two-hander also adds up given the current climate.

The effect of the main character’s inner monologue and outside influences being heard as audio is one of Peep Show dimensions—and it is this televisual sense of dialogue and intimacy that characterises the show. This is both a strength—recommending itself to non-theatre-going audiences—and a cause for pause, as I am suspicious that it would find its best form as a radio play.

The actors, Keelan Kember and Oliva Mills, are well cast for type. Lily is delicately compelling, and Kember gives a convincing performance as an egoistic posh boy, albeit with a habit for touching his face and hair when speaking. Likability is a challenge with this central character, but is largely achieved as he reveals his vulnerability in relationship to Lily. The platitudes and attitudes of others are also convincing—the un-empathetic words of the protagonist’s mother being particularly resonant of current generational divides.

The set is a sparse and neutral one, where furniture is covered in cellophane wrapping. We are left waiting for the point of synergy when the main character either, one: wraps himself in cellophane in a state of psychosis, or two: unwraps the chairs in homage to his fantasy of making the perfect armchair. However, this doesn’t happen, with the exception of the Counsellor’s chair he finally rests in at the play’s close.

We leave Ed here at end of a dramatic arc that follows the cycle of a relationship from beginning to end—with the faint hankering for a dramatic twist or jab at the dénouement.

Regardless, February Face is a sweet and relatable piece of writing by Keelan Kember that fleshes out some of the challenges of a generation.

Reviewer: Tamsin Flower

*Some links, including Amazon, Stageplays.com, Bookshop.org, ATG Tickets, LOVEtheatre, BTG Tickets, Ticketmaster, LW Theatres and QuayTickets, are affiliate links for which BTG may earn a small fee at no extra cost to the purchaser.

Are you sure?