Theatre with Teens : Noughts and Crosses Review

This is an advertisement feature (we attended press night). Image Credit: Robert Day

Theatre with Teens : Noughts and Crosses Review

Harry turns 13 soon and has asked if he can start coming along to more grown-up theatre productions. This was music to my ears and I'm delighted to have a new theatre buddy. Harry is very academic but also seems to have a real passion for theatre. He's always writing scripts for his own plays, creating little movies and has taken part in drama workshops at school as part of his extra-curricular activities. It's often tough trying to grab one on one time with the kids, especially as they grow older and into teenagers so I'm pleased that going to the theatre together is going to be our new thing. 

Our first review in this new 'Theatre with Teens' series is Noughts and Crosses which is playing at Northern Stage until 11 May. Northern Stage is one of our favourite theatres and always the place where you'll find the more modern/alternative theatrical shows playing. Tickets are usually available from £10 for most shows at Northern Stage and although I'm often invited along to press nights, I'll often buy my own tickets at this bargain price too. There are a few shows coming up at Northern Stage for older children and teens this year - take a peek at what's on here.

Theatre with Teens : Noughts and Crosses Review

Back to Noughts and Crosses. Aimed at ages 13+ and based on the best-selling novel (affiliate), it felt like the perfect way to introduce Harry into a more grown-up style of show rather than the children's theatre and pantos he is used to. We'd both not read the book and were not familiar with the story but I'd read a few reviews online from teachers saying they use this text with year 7 and 8 students so I had high hopes. 

Theatre with Teens : Noughts and Crosses Review

Noughts and Crosses is told from the point of view of two teenagers. Set in a dystopian future and segregated society, the story raises issues around racial and social divides, love, revolution and what it's like to grow up in a divided world. As a parent, these are all issues I strongly feel we should be talking to our children and teens about and as we took our seats in Stage 1, I hoped the performance would inspire some interesting conversation between us in the interval and during our bus journey home. 

Theatre with Teens : Noughts and Crosses Review

Noughts and Crosses - Parent Review (by Sam) 

"Noughts and Crosses is a brilliant production to watch with your teens. It is thought-provoking and borderline uncomfortable at times but raises some important issues about the cycle of politics and life and how we can or can't bring about change in the world. 

The story portrays life in a dystopian world where whites are the underclass and experience the discrimination and prejudice that is ingrained in society. Twisting the world around like this really does put our current society in the spotlight and although the play features bullying, terrorism and death, I left feeling like we could make a change through our own children and it weirdly gives you hope for the future and reminds you of the kind of society you don't want to live in yet how easily and quickly our society could regress rather than progress. 

The staging and set were very simple but effective and I particularly thought the news scenes were cleverly done. There were moments when we were all on the edge of our seats as the story unfolded in front of us and it definitely kept us guessing what would happen next. 

I left feeling that I had a better understanding of how and why terrorism happens in the world and as I chatted to Harry about this in the interval he reminded me that there still is always a choice and you always have a choice whether to set a bomb off or not and I suppose he's right. This issue of choice runs right through the play. 

Noughts and Crosses deserves its 13+ rating due to violence, adult themes of terrorism and the death penalty, swearing and references to sex. None of this was overly embarrassing or too much for us though and we've watched much worse on TV together. 

Harry really enjoyed tonight's performance as did I and it was lovely to do something a little more grown up together just the two of us. The performance ended with a standing ovation which in my opinion, was very much deserved. 

As I checked into the theatre on Facebook, my friend commented that they are currently making the Noughts and Crosses books into a TV series with Stormzy. My advice would definitely be to see the play first. I have a feeling the key messages of love, friendship, power, prejudice, community and oppression are going to stay with Harry and I for a while."

Theatre with Teens : Noughts and Crosses Review

Noughts and Crosses - Teen Review (by Harry)
"I thought Noughts and Crosses was very tense and I never knew what was going to happen next. I wouldn't have chosen that ending as it felt like there was no solution but maybe that was the point. It was interesting to see how somebody who is trying to be good can turn bad so quickly in such a short space of time. 

I like the lighting, visuals and sound and thought that together, they emphasised what was going on. 

I would definitely recommend Noughts and Crosses to other kids my age as it makes you think about the world we live in and the future we want to choose for ourselves. I've added the books to my amazon wishlist now too."  

Noughts and Crosses continues at Northern Stage until 11 May.

You can buy tickets online here. 


1 comment

  1. A fantastic novel - I'm sad I missed the theatre run, especially at Northern Stage! Malorie Blackman is a genius.


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