"Faith, Hope, Love and Oasis."
by Owen Kingston for remotegoat on 27/03/17

Faith, Hope and Love - and the greatest of these is? Staying Faithful, a new play by a new company Chocolate Chilli Theatre, navigates through the complex ins and outs of such deep philosophical and religious issues with humour and style, all set against the backdrop of the teenage scene in the late nineties/early noughties.

Hope is one of six friends, all in their final years at school, whose close ties produce an incestuous mixture of love, lust and infidelity. Religious beliefs become intertwined with adolescent fumbling in a predictably disastrous manner, but no-one can predict the chilling conclusion of all the teenage drama, which serves as a timely reminder that the age old myth about your teenage antics not really mattering in the great scheme of things is an utter lie.

Writer/Director Rosanna Lyne has crafted a complex and mature tale around the lives of these six imagined youngsters that skilfully draws us into their world, and causes us to care deeply about their futures. As each piece of this carefully crafted narrative falls into place we slowly come to realise that the full horror of the story's stunning conclusion has been visible from the very start. Keeping us on the edge of our uncomfortable seats until the very end, this two-hour epic is an exercise in masterful storytelling.

Giving life to these characters are a youthful ensemble whose truthful and honest performances transport us effortlessly to a time before smart phones. This is a play that has been deeply loved and cared for by its company, and that love shines through in every line delivered.

Theatre Utopia are to be commended for enabling young companies like this to have a voice, and bringing quality work alive in the suburbs. When they are onstage at the Royal Court, I look forward to being able to say that I saw them first in Croydon.

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