Southwark Playhouse, London – 19 May 2018
Guest reviewer: Amy Toledano
Why is the sky blue? What is there to do in Argentina? Why is the sea green? How regularly are young people in the UK and around the world watching pornography? And – more importantly – what effect is it having on their sexual and mental development? These are just some of the questions raised in Abbey Wright’s brand new piece Why is the Sky Blue?
Using verbatim text taken from interviews with young people across the UK, director and author Wright, along with co-writer Shireen Mula and musical director Matt Regan, have created a piece that succinctly demonstrates the conversation regarding pornography in a moving and often hilarious fashion.
The cast is brilliantly representative of a wide range of ages, nationalities, genders and sexualities, setting up from the get-go that the stories being told belong not only to a few but the wider community of young people throughout the UK.
The cast addresses the audience directly, explaining that this show is a musical that encompasses a selection of original songs that demonstrate the fantastic talent of these actors, but that also hit home with some painfully obvious issues with the porn industry today.
A great device is that of noise-cancelling headphones. All the actors have a pair around their necks and put them on when subject matter veered away from appropriateness for their age group. For example, the youngest in the cast (ages 7 and 10 respectively) tend to wear theirs for most of the show as their older cast mates discussed things such as female masturbation and societal pressures.
One of the most lovely choices though came from the moments where the actors would face one another and speak frankly about their own experiences with pornography and what exactly has come from them using (or not) using it as a part of their lives.
Why Is the Sky Blue? is a lovely piece of writing that gives young people a voice and addresses a conversation that does not get discussed enough in today’s society. This show is a testament to the brilliant actors and is absorbing from start to finish.