• Amy Toledano

Changing Lanes presented by Making Waves Theatre Company

What Is It?

Changing Lanes by Helen Squires and Making Waves Theatre, is the debut play from this company, performed at the Etcetera Theatre in Camden. Written and performed by Helen Squires and newcomer Ryan Yengo in one of his first professional performances.

What Is It About?

This short two hander is a heart-warming play about a young friendship, that is essentially centred around decision making, what it means to be to be entering adulthood, and the struggles of making big decisions and monumental effects the smaller ones can have. The piece also discusses alcohol consumption and knife crime amongst young people.

How Did It Make Me Feel?

Despite the heavy nature of this story, the majority of this play is told in a brilliantly light-hearted way. Helen Squires has such lovely energy on stage, which really impacts the audience, reminding them of the youthfulness of being a teenager and ultimately making the piece even more relatable. The atmosphere that is created on stage is that of real nostalgia. It allows the audience to long for the days of eating absurd amounts of Haribo, teenage awkwardness, and reminds us of a time when doing nothing in a freezing park was actually a social occasion.

But of course all those days bored in English lessons and making new friends can lead to catastrophe if the circumstances make it so. The take away of the show is clearly highlighting the issue of knife crime, but the company create this in a subtle and exciting way. Above all, this show is about friendship, the joy of it and the devastating effects of losing it. Ryan Yengo’s tender portrayal of a young hopeful boy is particularly important to mention. He carries no stereotypical teenage angst, instead focusing on loyalty, care for those around him, I found myself wishing I had him as a friend too. These qualities make the show even more watchable, as the bond between these characters is so incredibly palpable.

Anything else?

This show, at its crux, is about friendship. It explores the joy of having it and the devastation of losing it.

The issue of knife crime could perhaps be weaved more through the story however, as it tended to get a little lost. The theme of decision-making is also used as a dramatic tool, and it does lead to a level of self-reflection for the characters and the audience alike. A depiction of friendship that is touching and joyful to watch. I look forward to seeing where this play goes in it’s future!

Eleanor x

Changing Lanes played at Etcetera Theatre Camden on the 14th and 15th November 2019.

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