Theatre Review

Fourteen, A Feel-Good Journey of Resilience & Self-Acceptance

Similar to Timothy Conigrave's 'Holding the Man,' this play is destined to become a classic of Australian LGBTIQ+ literature. Its exuberant celebration of self-acceptance and the enduring power of love, whether from family or friends, will leave you moved and uplifted. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
David Blanco  |  Art & Culture
Fourteen, A Feel-Good Journey of Resilience, Love, and Self-Acceptance
Actor Conor Leach and the man he portrays in Fourteen, author Shannon Molloy (Image; Supplied)

We don't often give out stars for our theatre reviews, but in this case, 'Fourteen' gets a resounding  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 stars! Last Saturday, I was lucky enough to catch the performance of the critically acclaimed theatrical gem,' Fourteen,' adapted from Shannon Molloy's bestselling 2020 memoir, which was longlisted for the 2021 ABIA Biography Book of the Year.

The play transports us to the Yeppoon, a small town on the Queensland coast in the 1990s, where we follow the poignant journey of 14-year-old Shannon, who is navigating life as a gay Year 9 high school student in which homophobic insults and physical violence all too frequently lurk around the corner.

Despite addressing challenging themes, 'Fourteen' avoids being depressing. Shannon's story highlights the character's resilience and determination to survive his rocky teenage years and shape his own destiny.

Fourteen, A Feel-Good Journey of Resilience, Love, and Self-Acceptance.

Supported by a loving family, a tight-knit group of gal pals and a passion for cheesy '90s and early 2000s pop music (think S Club 7, Steps, and Shania Twain), Shannon navigates the often- treacherous waters of adolescence, especially when feeling like you don't quite fit in.

The play explores its themes of self-acceptance and coming-out with honesty and humour, fearlessly exploring the harmful effects of homophobia and schoolyard cruelty. Told in flashback, the play charts Shannon's transformation from bullied and traumatised schoolboy to a self-assured young man about to be married.

Conor Leach, from the Australian Queer-themed film, 'Sequin in a Blue Room,' plays Shannon with a dynamic combination of energy, heart, and pathos.

'Fourteen's' accomplished cast seamlessly shift roles, creating a collection of memorable and hilariously recognisable teenage and adult characters. A particular standout is Karen Crone, who delivers in spades as Shannon's unwaveringly supportive mother.

Presented by Shake & Stir Theatre Co, 'Fourteen' is a heartwarming revelation andnot to be missed!

Similar to Timothy Conigrave's 'Holding the Man,' this play is destined to become a classic of Australian LGBTIQ+ literature. Its exuberant celebration of self-acceptance and the enduring power of love, whether from family or friends, will leave you moved and uplifted. — FUSE Magazine

'Fourteen's is currently on its Australian tour, and I highly recommend you hop aboard your preferred mode of transport and get to this unforgettable show—you won't regret it!

This review was written by David Blanco at FUSE Magazine.

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More Coverage

Fourteen Australian Tour!

The year is 1999 and Shannon has a secret. Shannon Molloy is a year 9 student at an all-boys rugby-mad Catholic school in regional Queensland, with a secret that no one can ever find out. Shannon is gay.

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.

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