Fri 8th Aug
Born in The Dark
A Reluctant Teenager's review
(Spoilers may ensue)
For starters, I would like to comment that I am a big Springsteen fan. Not the biggest ever, but I am still really into his early stuff, so I may be biased in my enjoyment of the play, as I enjoyed its score. But Born in The Dark did not disappoint my expectations. 2 parts Springsteen, 1 part teen angst, and 1 part romantic comedy. And 4 parts good and honest writing. This play does not try and romanticize teen life; it does not try and portray it as the best times of your life. It does show it exactly as it is: awkward, clumsy and full of heartache and full of optimism. But it is not overly happy and it is not overly down, it is truthful, in adolescence you will have fun and you will have bad, and all of it will be good. At no point in the play does it portray adolescence as better than adulthood. It has its ups and downs. From air guitar-ing to Born in the USA to having your mam knock down your door because you didn't come for tea (Which happens everyday in my household). Not only does it show the struggles of teenage life, but also of adulthood; from money problems to loss of a loved one and possible loss of yourself. And they are shown in conjunction with each other, the audience isn't told of one and then of the other: they flow together. Possibly as an allegory for how teenage life truly isn't different to adulthood, and human kind just want that which they don't have. And that both parties suffer from nostalgia for different times, one wanting more freedom, the other wishing they had less. More probably, it just fitted the narrative and kept the audience interested, I don't know, I'm a teenager with no real history in analysis of writing, how would I know... The cast did a fantastic job in their roles and were stellar performances; the lighting crew were also excellent, changing lighting tone to emphasize the scene through either bright lighting or dark to really heighten the mood. Not to forget the Springsteen fan(s) who chose the best tracks for the scene. *Major spoiler from here* My only gripe is the ending, in which, Bruce (Not Springsteen) loses Wendy, his love interest, to the inability to say how he feels in not a Bruce Springsteen lyric, and to just honestly say "I love you". After failing to say it twice, his mother gives him some advice. And so in a grand romantic gesture to win back Wendy he dances to Dancing In The Dark and succeeds with the help of a heartfelt letter. My complaint is that no one told me this was a thing girls were into; otherwise a lot of teen angst could have been avoided on my part. Other than embitterment that I did not dance at past flames, I give Born in The Dark 10 marks out of 10 it will make you laugh, maybe cry slightly, and keeps you keen and interested for the entire run of its script. An all round excellent story for Springsteen lovers, teenagers, or adults who like to re-live teenage years.
P.S Did anyone else notice that the Dad who was obsessed with Springsteen to start with, married a woman named Mary, he met when they were 18? 'The River' reference, anyone?)
Born in the Dark plays again tonight - a fiver on the door, money well spent for an evening of home grown entertainment!