This funny, sensitive and honest play effectively explores the gaps in sex education in schools.
Written and directed by Seón Simpson and Gina Donnelly, Two Fingers Up is a pacy and frank examination of sex education – particularly in Ireland and with plenty of emphasis on Catholic views and teachings that confuse young people on the right attitude to have towards sex and how to explore it.
Set in Ireland, Sharon, Leah and Hayley are all looking for answers to questions that their teachers at their school seem very reluctant to answer and so go out searching for the answers themselves. Whether it is looking things up online or taking a trip to Anne Summers, they soon discover just how much there is to learn in terms of their sexuality and how to handle it all.
Handled with great honesty, Two Fingers Up is a smart piece of writing that features three characters who are dealing with growing up but also having to deal with feelings of shame and anxiety when it comes to finding out more about sex – not feeling able to share what is really on their minds even with each other. It is a play that really asks the question – how can we break these barriers down? While highlighting the importance of breaking it down to make it less of a taboo subject.
Running at just 50 minutes long, it is a very focused piece that really manages to cover a lot of ground in that time and the audience feels completely involved and sympathetic to the three friends plight and confusion – which in all honesty is also completely relatable.
Throughout it all, there is a fantastic energy that runs throughout – the cast driving the story forward with great enthusiasm and passion. Yes, there are a few moments towards the end in which it feels slightly overdone that distracts from the story – but there is no denying that its good intentions of boldly highlighting a topic that is rarely spoken about.
All of the cast (Orla Graham, Sarah Reid, Shannon Wilkinson) have a really lovely and natural bond together and you really feel that all three characters are going on a journey together – despite the occasional (and somewhat funny) moment in which they find it awkward to talk about what is on their mind.
Overall, while Two Fingers Up is funny and honest, it also manages to ask important questions about just how good the quality of sex education is in schools and the level of information there is out there to help teenagers to mature and grow up. It is certainly worth a watch.
By Emma Clarendon
Two Fingers Up is available to watch on demand as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe until the 29th August.