Teenage Dick at Donmar Warehouse
Holding the post of senior class president is a privilege not many can enjoy. But for Richard (Daniel Monks), the odds look even slimmer. A hemiplegia sufferer, the teen must overcome his biggest rivals, school bully Eddie (Callum Adams) and Clarissa (Alice Hewkin) if he is to obtain the deeply coveted role.
Disability means nothing when one’s ability means everything. Michael Longhurst has this statement crystal clear in his American high school drama, Teenage Dick. Despite possessing an ailing physical condition, Richard’s intelligence makes him every bit as worthy of assuming office – even if his peers may not see this to be the case.
Set in a gym, whereby elements of the production design share parallels with Kenny Ortega’s High School Musical, the show moves from light classroom banter towards dark and murky waters. Examining the relationship between social media and bullying, it demonstrates the overwhelming effects that networking sites such as Twitter can have on one’s state of mind, shedding light on how dangerous it is to constantly live life through the watchful eyes of others.
Monks gives an electric performance as Richard. The subtlety with which he fights with and accepts his inner battles is captivating to the core. Particularly interesting is the evolution of his desires for love interest Anne Margaret (Siena Kelly) and her reciprocal acceptance of him. Teenage Dick serves as a reminder of the power of words as weapons – once used, they can never be taken back. Friendships may be broken; enemies might be made.
Photos: Marc Brenner
Teenage Dick is at Donmar Warehouse from 6th December until 1st February 2020. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.