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Jan 2009
Brave New Choice: Stripping off Taboos

(A Review of Virgins)

Congratulations to Vienna’s English Theatre on their courageous choice of Virgins for this year’s senior school tour performances! This thought-provoking, compelling and outspoken play deals with real issues teenagers (and adults for that matter) have to face in day-to-day life. It challenges us, the audience, to really look closely at often underlying family conflicts and problems that arise while growing-up: hang-ups about sex, sexually transmitted infections and trust.
We experienced a highly competent cast turning the provocative text into a convincing, engaging and vibrant performance. Minimal stage props were used, but in a most effective way, above all a doll’s house that represented the family home. Little details like the mother lacing up the daughter’s neckline, only for the latter to immediately loosen it; Jack’s stripping off layers of clothes to the Arctic Monkey’s song “A Certain Romance” or the identity tag worn by the mother even at home, indicative of her role as a managing director both at work and at home, were immediately meaningful and added to the overall enthralling interpretation of John Retallack’s noteworthy drama. The production, fluid and free-wheeling, certainly captivated Thursday’s teenagers in Innsbruck.
In its directness and refreshing approach Virgins is a valuable educational play that deserves to be in Vienna’s English Theatre repertoire for years to come. In fact, we hope Vienna’s English Theatre will continue to offer such plays encouraging teachers and pupils to tackle such taboo topics!

Andrew Milne-Skinner and Kristina Leitner
Innsbruck, Jan 09

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