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Charlotte Anne Tilley
Charlotte Anne Tilley Productions
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Twenties is an old-fashioned coming of age story in the sense that a shallow character gains unwanted maturity through occasionally bitter experience.

Twenty-one-year-old Hope (author Charlotte Anne Tilley) considers herself to be worldly and sophisticated. However, every action taken, and opinion expressed, suggests her shallow and self-obsessed nature make her ill-equipped to cope with life in the big city.

Director Kate Somerton exploits every opportunity offered by the online presentation to make a filmed rather than theatrical production. The story is divided into chapters, which allows for frequent scene and costume changes and even a flashback to recall a traumatic event. Somerton draws fine performances from a large cast enacting an indifferent father, clinging mother, sleezy boss and traumatised workmate.

Charlotte Anne Tilley shows the development of Hope opening with a character whose high opinion of her own abilities and judgemental attitude towards other people (her mother’s redundancy is assessed purely on how it impacts on Hope) borders on arrogance. In the opening scenes, Hope’s gushing, wide-eyed enthusiasm for London make her seem gauche rather than, as she imagines, urbane.

Hope has a high sense of entitlement, wanting to leave home not to fulfil professional ambitions (which are never articulated) but to escape a family and hometown she holds in low esteem. Twenties does not conceal Hope’s unpleasant aspects (she hides rather than assist a colleague who is being harassed) and her change in attitude is realistically gradual, leaving Hope humbled rather than enlightened.

The script makes clear despite Hope’s pretensions she is a hick from the sticks rather than a city slicker. It has some very good lines with Hope’s mother objecting to her leaving home because her bedroom has just been painted and Hope worrying how Little Mix would react when she considers contacting her ex-boyfriend. Charlotte Anne Tilley lets herself down at the conclusion, however, choosing to clumsily verbalise the life-lessons learnt by Hope rather than trust the viewer to work them out.

Reviewer: David Cunningham