4 Min Read

Punk rock teens and their cathartic means: 107

This is it, this is the moment I will talk about in years to come, when I say “I was there, I saw them first, I saw the show that started it all.” Writer and composer Michele Gould and the stars of 107 at The Blue Room Theatre have proven in 75 minutes of punk rock teen angst that they are here to take the world of theatre by storm.

The play has a simple premise: four teenagers wait for a school bus that is perpetually late, and fill the time by taking on the world’s problems. Gender equality, racism, and global warming for starters. Michele stated their inspiration was partly the question, ‘what if Spring Awakening was about lesbians?’ I would add, what if Waiting for Godot was about frustrated teenagers with a ukulele? Joy, Zoe, Olivia, and Charlotte are torn between fixing the world and fixing themselves, and throughout the show they grapple with old rivalries, disappointed parents, questioning gender identities, and how their reputations are shaping their lives.

Cast of 107. Photography by Tasha Faye.

There is little in the way of plot as the show is character-driven, and marvellously done so by the four powerhouses of music and emotion. Lukas Pérez’s Olivia and Paris Leveque’s Zoe have an infectiously uplifting friendship. They challenge each other to be the best they can be, whether that’s coming up with insulting new slogans for their school, or finding the most respectful way to get gossip out of their bus-stop associates. Ruby Short’s Charlotte is scathingly confident with a frighteningly vulnerable side, embodying every popular girl at high school you wanted to simultaneously punch and hug. Jen Guigayoma as the tremulous Joy struggles to overcome the impossible standards of an emotionally distant mother, and her badly hidden scandalised expressions are a riot to watch as she tries overly hard to connect with her peers.

Cast of 107. Photography by Tasha Faye.

The four have an easy chemistry that drives the show as it meanders through every topic important to teenagers. Michele’s dialogue is breezily conversational, exactly how you’d expect four teenagers to talk, which is really the show’s main strength; it feels like we have stumbled upon four real teenagers as they test each other’s boundaries to kill time. And they never turn off, either, even when Charlotte skulks at the back for a good twenty minutes, she is still listening and responding with characteristic judgement and longing. Their sly expressions behind each other’s backs tell half the story, and Olivia’s dramatic eye rolls are a theatre piece of their own.

Cast of 107. Photography by Tasha Faye.

I have very little professional knowledge with which to judge the music, but even I can tell these performers are the best of the best. All four cast members have phenomenal voices, and special mention has to go to Lukas Pérez’s powerful pipes, which had my jaw on the floor from the first note. The songs are boisterous, bizarre, and entirely punk rock in their bouts of anger and melancholia. I particularly enjoyed the song about the Golden Triangle, mocking the posh residents of Peppermint Grove with the gleeful pretentiousness of marginalised yet middle-class private school kids, which had me in stitches. The show is full of Perth references like this, making us locals feel right at home, and occasionally uncomfortably seen.

In a simple set of only a graffitied bench seat the four troubled teens grapple with the complexities of teenage life in a social media-driven society, and take the audience on a journey of healing by providing clumsy but well-meaning guidance.

107 is raw, funny, poignant, and cathartic, and the team behind it should be proud of the gem they have created. The show is on now until Feb 5 at The Blue Room Theatre.