Born and bred in East Yorkshire, playwright Tom Wells returns to his roots with this uplifting tale of three awkwardly "uncool" teenagers.
Three friends have just finished their GCSEs and are now hoping to reinvent themselves before heading off to college in September. After the ringleader spots a set of drums going cheap in a nearby charity shop, she has a bright idea – “We’re going to start a band.” With only a few weeks until their new college’s Battle of the Bands event, the trio has a lot of work to do, including learning how to play their instruments. It’s going to be one hell of a summer.
Holly (Grace Hogg-Robinson), a geeky shop girl who loves to code and dreams of app development, is on the brink of starting a new relationship. Meanwhile, Ben (Andrew Reed), who is “100% gay”, discovers his fondness of sequinned fabrics. Then there’s potty-mouthed and bolshie Meg (Faye Christall), constantly reminding them of these apparent flaws that made them losers in secondary school. Acting out in this way is clearly a reflection of Meg’s own insecurities: her weight, image and the possibility of losing her friends when they all embark on separate paths.
Music is used as a tool to express how each character is feeling, whilst the lyrics delve into tricky and often embarrassing coming-of-age themes. The band begins with a rendition of Pulp’s classic track ‘Mis-Shapes’, but when Meg eloquently says that their use of only one guitar chord, a flute and digital beats from GarageBand is “shit”, Holly goes off to write a song about her new love interest.
This is where the character of Holly really blossoms and has a chance to voice her emotions without Meg’s constant cursing. A few weeks later and after learning a couple more chords, Ben also fancies himself as a singer-songwriter, managing to explain delicate personal developments through descriptions of his sexuality.
Set entirely in the safe haven of Meg’s shed, Broken Biscuits dips a toe into themes of gender, relationships, sex and self-image through the dynamic of a teenage friendship. Comical, clever and quirky, it will leave you feeling a little warm and fuzzy, possibly reminding you of that awkward age. Offering just the right amount of unpolished cringe to make the story both convincing and meaningful, with fun references to local spots like Sainsbury’s Local on Princes Avenue, it really seems as though the shed is just down the road.
Broken Biscuits runs at Hull Truck Theatre until Saturday 5 November. To purchase tickets, please call 01482 323638 or visit www.hulltruck.co.uk.