Sex, virginity, alcohol, parties; social media, food, exercise, dating. These are the maggots that inhabit the teenage mind. Mind Maggots encapsulates all of these things in the story of a group of teenagers who are struggling with how these elements take over their daily lives.
The story starts with Laura (played by Amy Bonar) drunkenly trying to interact with her friends at a party where people are too involved in what’s going on on the screens of their phones to exchange more than a passing comment. This then melds into showing the characters day to day lives, their anxieties and jokes, hook-ups and fads, presented by interspersing dialogue, flashback, and monologue, and all punctuated by a stream of nights out.
The play does a good job of exposing all of the characters psyches relatively equally; though it originally seems very centered on Laura and her inability to communicate with her peers, in time these characters are explained and shown in all their vulnerability. Mind Maggots does not attempt to glorify the characters, nor does it try to entirely disown the teenagers; rather, it shows the characters strengths and weaknesses, their flaws and their qualities. It humanizes them, showing these young people in all the beauty of their insecurities.
A particular quality of the play was the tone of it: the humour was simple and slightly dark at points, and never failed to provoke laughter from the audience. However, jokes very rapidly turn sour as the situation loses its fragile balance and falls into a far darker realm, and the reality of it becomes frighteningly difficult to watch. The end in particular was made almost haunting by its use mundane realism, as the story that previously focused on a select group of teens expands to show the similarities between these characters and others, older and with different concerns and thoughts.
Another brilliant aspect of the play is the acting. All four actors did an excellent job of portraying their characters range of emotions, from drunken humour to panicked desperation. Lewis Wilding in particular does an amazing job of portraying various characters in turn. His humorous depiction of an unrepentant paedophile is in stark contrast with his portrayal of a violent teen unable to come to terms with his sexuality, showing his potential as an impressively versatile actor.
Overall, Mind Maggots tells a story that is relatable to university students everywhere, that of the complexity and chaos of the teenaged mind in an era of social media, complemented by brilliant acting, which makes for a stunning play.
Mind Maggots is a Minatour Theatre Company Production