Youth Theatre Review

Fourteen, powerful, hilarious and heartbreaking

The gem-like songs scattered throughout the play are perfectly reflective of the 90s hits we know and love. Fourteen is an exceptional production about a gay teen navigating his fourteenth year.
Joshua Straw  |  Art & Culture
Fourteen, Shake and Stir!
Fourteen, Shake and Stir!

Every person has their own unique memories and experiences, but it’s odd that often the struggles stand out far more vividly than the positive times. Regardless, reflection is a powerful (albeit confronting) tool to help gain perspective on how far we come in life and the adversities that we overcome in the process.

This perfectly encapsulates the atmosphere of Shake & Stir Theatre Company’s production of Fourteen, a brilliant adaptation of Shannon Molloy’s powerful memoir. The show is an equal parts hilarious and heart-wrenching look into the life of Shannon, a gay high school student growing up in regional Queensland, and the joys and adversities he faces in his fourteenth year.

Shake and Stir have staged an exceptional production, and the adaptation work done by author Shannon Molloy, director Nick Skubij, and Nelle Lee has ensured a well written performance that grips the audience from start to finish.

The creative team, led by Skubij and designed by Josh McIntosh, developed a captivating and versatile set that allowed for seamless shifts between the staggered memories that an older Shannon navigates with the audience, and I was thoroughly impressed. Every detail was well thought out to convey the simple and welcoming nature of a regional town by appearance, and how that can be clearly contrasted by the inhabitants’ attitudes to those who are deemed ‘different’.

The gem-like songs scattered throughout the play were perfectly reflective of the 90s hits we know and love. Not only were the choices of these songs exceptional, but the sound design and composition led by Guy Webster was perfectly executed; when the audience wasn’t singing along to the 90s nostalgia, they were holding their collective breath at the moments of tension occurring in the performance.

The sounds and audio in the play were complimented through the strong costuming choices, designed by Fabian Holford. That feeling of the 90s was more than present in the clothing; the ageless Supré moments, the matching tracksuit sets. I transcended at the mere sight of a slap bracelet, all of which is to say that I found these choices perfect and hilarious.

Although not a musical, I have to give a strong nod to the choreography done by Dan Venz. Without saying too much to spoil it, some really fun dance moments were created that both the cast and the audience loved.

This fun and humour was juxtaposed well with some of the more serious parts of the performance, with the movements and actions carefully considered and led by fight director Tim Dashwood. Overall, this team of creatives and crew should be extremely proud of their collective vision and hard work.

Read the full review by Joshua Straw at:  


“Conor Leach truly is a star. In classic Shake & Stir fashion, the performance never shied away from confronting topics, but not without the quick gag slotted in to ease the tension and remind the audience that there is light at the end of the tunnel.” The Courier-Mail 



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