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Fourteen - Riverside Theatres (NSW)

By Shannon Molloy. Adapted and presented by Shake & Stir Theatre Co.


Teenage love – oh so sweet – yet oh so heart-breaking in this wonderful coming-of-age story that feels real, authentic and heart felt

 

Reviewed by Chanele Mao

Riverside Theatres, Parramatta

Season 3 May – 4 May 2024

 

Fourteen is a wonderful coming-of-age story about our hero, Shannon Molloy, a year 9 student at an all-boys Catholic school in Yeppoon, a small town with an apparently small mind, in Central Queensland.

 

Shannon Molloy (Conor Leach) desperately wants to be a “normal” 14-year-old boy. It’s 1999, the Spice Girls are all the rage. His best friends are two crazy girls. He lives with his mum and two siblings. But he has a secret. He is gay - but it’s not quite sunk in yet.


Fourteen - Riverside Theatres, Parramatta (2024). Images by David Fell

 

Being gay and being in Yeppoon was not a good combination. It was hard hitting to see the kind of abuse, name calling, discrimination and bullying that Molloy was subjected to during his high school years, simply because he was different from the other toxic “manly” boys. Molloy’s smarts and kindness displayed by Leach shone through despite the dark days at school. His mother was a glorious force of nature. We had the pleasure to see how the safe and nurturing family relationships in Molloy’s life helped him to get over the pressures of high school.

 

There was a lot of fun and entertainment value in Fourteen, which is almost part musical as the ensemble dance to the hits of the 90s from the likes of Shania Twain, Britney Spears, and S Club 7. Leach was amazing as the teenage Molloy, as were the ensemble actors. His smile beamed from the darkness and was endearing throughout. The music certainly brought back memories if you lived through the 90s, and the audience loved it! There were many laugh-out-loud, cringey moments and much hilarity.


...what Fourteen is, is that it’s real, authentic and heart felt.

 

The production quality and staging by Shake & Stir Theatre Co. was impressive. The stage was multifunctional and well utilised by the characters. The set allowed for the scenes to move smoothy from Shannon’s house to his classroom, to the school playground where the school bullies lurked. The ensemble had to play multiple characters with different personalities and ages/gender, but it was executed believably.

 

There was a lot to appreciate, learn and enjoy from Fourteen. It’s not a play just for young people, but people from all ages and walks of life can find comfort, connection and experience the highs and lows of Molloy’s teenage life. Being 14 ain’t easy and at times it ain’t pretty, but what Fourteen is, is that it’s real, authentic and heart felt.

 

Fourteen is touring now around Australia over the next few months. Get in there quick!

 

The show runs for approximately 2 hours with no interval.  


This play also contains simulated violence, depictions of self-harm, suicide ideation, and the use of herbal cigarettes. If you have any concerns about the content of the play, we encourage you to contact our Box Office. If you or someone you know needs information or support, these organisations are there to help:

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636Lifeline 13 11 14

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