Risk (4 stars)

Tron Theatre, Glasgow. Now touring


Whether we’re crossing on red or skydiving for kicks, we live in a world of calculated risk. If we stopped to think about it, we’d rarely leave the house for fear of the consequences. Actually, to stay in the house would only expose us to electrocution, poisoning and carpet bugs, so we’re no safer there.

As adults, we’re generally in control of the risks we take, but for those in transition from the protective shell of childhood to the independence of later teenage years, there’s a complex network of risks to be recognised, understood and negotiated. As John Retallack’s invigorating dance-theatre production articulates, young people are under constant pressure to resolve the tension between the safety-first caution of their parents and the nothing-ventured-nothing-gained recklessness of their peers.

Performed by a winning team of five disciplined young actors, Risk bounces back and forth between a kind of liberal paternalism, reminding the young audience of the perils of drink and the downside of bullying, and an honest recognition of the thrill of dangerous behaviour. If you’re going to be caught, says one of them, it’s no good stealing a Mars bar, you’ve got to be caught stealing something big.

It’s a tremendous show, not only because it talks so openly to its target audience about this difficult rites of passage, but also because it’s staged with such flair. Andy Howitt’s hip hop influenced choreography and Kai Fischer’s lighting bring a real rigor to Retallack’s vivid and vibrant script. Should you see it? Yes, of course: it’s well worth the risk.

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