• Amy Toledano

Ask Me Anything presented by The Paper Birds

What is it?

A performance piece using live music, live recordings, tape recordings, all endeavouring to answer the questions of modern teenagers.

What is it about?

Georgie Coles, Rosie Doonan, and Kylie Perry, members of The Paper Birds devising theatre company asked teenagers around the UK to do exactly what the title says — ask them anything. They received an overwhelming amount of answers and instead of answering them outright, Ask Me Anything is their answer. During the 80 minute show, they answer questions through a variety of mediums. Sometimes they involve the audience and sometimes their Alexa-like companion, Bridge-IT, who bridges the gap between generations, assists. Each performer has her own unique way of answering some of the questions. Georgie Coles answers some from direct pages of her childhood and teenage diaries, Kylie Perry answers some through an 80’s-style teen TV show, and Rosie Doonan, a non-actor, answers some through her original songs.

How Did It Make Me Feel?

The performance can easily lose you. During the first 35 minutes, none of the performers answer any questions. And while they are engaging, funny, and easy to talk to, the first portion feels like a talk. The house lights are on and we’re not all sure why we’re here or what’s going to happen. This suspense could be fun, but it lasts too long. And with constant projections, multiple screens, and a cluttered set, paired with readings from teenage diaries, an 80’s TV show, and very loud music, it’s easy to get lost. Bridge-IT is also a confusing convention. It always seems to chime in at awkward times or interrupts the performers during tense and crucial moments. But while this performance seems like a very raw work-in-progress, one thing that it does not lack is heart. The performers are great, but their talents get lost in the form of the piece.

Anything Else?

With a more straightforward form, one that focuses on the story above all else, this show could be a powerful piece of theatre.

Rebecca x

Ask me Anything is playing at the Crescent, VAULT Festival until the 16th February 2020.

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