Reviewed by Mrs_Taylor
Definitely laugh out loud funny!! I had no idea what Groan Ups was about so I was really intrigued to see it, particularly as it is from the creators of The Play That Goes Wrong. The story follows 5 children at three stages of their life – in year 2, year 9 and at a school reunion when they are in their thirties and is filled with amusing anecdotes and plenty of throwbacks to the nineties and noughties.
The play was in New Theatre, Cardiff which is a theatre I love as it is such an impressive building and also has so much history. When I arrived I was greeted by several friendly people who made sure you knew where to go, received my tickets and sorted out drinks for the interval (you can order them before so they are ready and waiting for you) before settling in my seat. My seat was in the Circle and had a fantastic view of the stage but another thing I like about New Theatre is that every seat has a great view!
The set design and lighting for the whole play is brilliant – the set changed three times but always depicted a classroom just with different pieces of art on the wall and different sized props depending on how old the children are meant to be! I loved how the props you saw in the first scene (when they were in year 2) came back in the last scene (when they were adults) and were vastly different in size! The attention to detail was amazing and the set really did feel like you were back in school.
I loved the first half! It was hilarious and I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard in the theatre before! The whole play is two hours and 20 minutes and the first hour just flew by! This was split into two segments – one depicting when they were in year 2 and one of them in year 9. The mannerisms and references were spot on and everyone around me was roaring with laughter! I was slightly worried about adults playing kids but I shouldn’t have been as all the actors were fantastic and watching them play six year olds and then teenagers with all the classic crushes and grudges you could find in a friendship group was great.
I unfortunately found that the ending let down the second half. Without giving anything away it just didn’t fit the feel of the rest of the play and I felt quite frustrated at how unbelievable it got. I felt that it tried a bit too hard to get all the ends tied nicely together. Having said that, I did still enjoy the second half and there were some fantastic ‘laugh out loud’ moments particularly around a hamster and a walrus! All of the actors were brilliant but I have to say Jamie Birkett as Chemise and Killian Macardle as Paul at the school reunion stole the show!
A really great play with a slightly annoying ending!
Rating: 4/ 5
Tickets cost from £16.50 to £36.50 and there is no booking fee.
Groan Ups is at New Theatre, Cardiff from Monday 11th October to Saturday 16th October 2021, for more information or to book tickets visit: https://newtheatrecardiff.co.uk/Online/tickets-groan-ups-cardiff-2021 or call the box office on 0343 310 0041.
New Theatre, Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3LN.