Review: Adrian Mole may be stuck in the 80s but he's still entertaining

Colette Lennon as Pandora and Adam Dougal as Adrian in The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ at the MAC, Belfast


The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾

The Mac Theatre, Belfast

ADRIAN Mole is a quirky young man, a bit of an anorak really, but then he's a teenager aged 13¾, to be precise, and life is tough.

He tells his diary, and so his audience, just how difficult it is growing up in a household where his mother keeps disappearing off with the man next door, his father is bad tempered and frustrated and his granny can't keep her nose of of their affairs.

Then there's school to contend with: the bullying, his acne – which he puts down to a poor diet as his mum doesn't believe in green vegetables – and he confides to the pages his feelings for classmate Pandora.

He falls in love for the first time. Because of his crumbling life he thinks he's best suited to becoming an intellectual so the upper-class young girl is just right. Does it work out? You have to go and see.

At first I wondered about the target audience. Set in the year 1981, the references were meaningless to the many young teenagers in the audience and very dated for the older people – Play School and the windows, Jill Tweedie of the Guardian, Mrs Thatcher.

However, after the show I talked to both young and older and it didn't worry them. One girl said she didn't understand but it didn't matter she really enjoyed the show.

Sue Townsend's script has remained in the 1980s so it's case of allowing time to remain suspended.

Like the leading man it's a quirky show, not a laugh a minute but comical, a bit cartoonish, songs highlight situations, minimal set changes are carried out by the cast, everything moves swiftly, with a certain choreography which requires precise timing.

This will not be to everyone's taste but when the Bruiser Theatre Company do something they do it well and this is no exception. The cast is excellent – Colette Lennon, Gerard McCabe, Orla Mullan and Keith Lynch play various roles, with Adam Dougal as Adrian.

:: Until October 7, then touring. See for details and booking.

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