Reviewed by Lauren Donikian
We all remember our first love, and whether it was at 16 or 60 the indications are the same. There is the goofy smile that you can’t wipe off your face, the need to always talk about your partner, and the butterflies in your stomach. All of this and more are on display in Glitter Punch. Written by Lucy Burke Glitter Punch tells the story of 16-Year-old Molly and her first love John. Over the course of the one-hour performance, we see their love story unfold.
Produced by Stacks on Theatre, the cast includes co-founders Brittany Santariga and Lachlan Stevenson. Santariga plays Molly and carries this play as the script is mainly her character’s narration. Through her thoughts we can meet Molly where she is. Whilst she has experienced a lot for a 16-year-old, she is naïve, lacks self-confidence and just wants to be loved. Santariga plays Molly with an excitable and at times anxious energy, that makes you want to give her a hug. With a British accent that seems too big for her and a packet of cigarettes that are never too far away Santariga is captivating to watch. The performance space is small and nestled in one of the corners of the bottom floor at Flow Studios, a warehouse that has been transformed into a theatre. The audience is only centimeters away from the performers so not only is the topic of the play intimate, but the space is also. With the only props being Aldi bags, a rectangular platform that is used as a bed or car, and cigarettes the focus is solely on Santariga and Stevenson. Simple lighting is used, there is a spotlight, and strip LED lights that line the ceiling. Soft music plays underneath the performers at times but mainly it is Santariga talking quickly, swearing, or reminding herself to breathe. Stevensons John is a man of few words and remains quite mysterious throughout the play. Most of Stevensons time on stage is spent in silence, miming what Molly is talking about or staying frozen until they return to the scene. His stature alone has a huge impact on the performance. He envelops Santariga and hovers tall behind her, which plays nicely into the story. There is a moment where they are sitting together intertwined and there is an ease with both actors. It is in these gentle moments that you forget that this is a story about young love.
Both characters are tortured souls who find comfort in each other. Burke’s writing provides us with an insight into a 16-year-old that has lived through her parents’ mistakes and doesn’t want to do the same. It is a relatable tale and one that I think a lot of people will enjoy. This was a strong performance for a production company that is only a few years old. It’s just proof that if the story is good, all that’s really needed is great storytellers and Stacks On Theatre have that covered.