Edgy and acute, Punk Rock is a slow-building story of violence at school, told with compelling depth and tension. The play introduces us to seven high-achieving teenagers at a fee-paying grammar school. They are holed up in the Upper School library, tucked away from supervision, revising — or not, as the case may be — for their mock A-Levels.
William, a bright Oxbridge-hopeful, falls for the enigmatic new girl Lilly, but she’s falling for someone else. Watched by his girlfriend Cissy, Bennett bullies the unconfident Tanya and the awkward prodigy Chadwick.
It is a recognisable stew of rivalries, desires and confusions, each character’s uncertainties carefully drawn. But as exam pressure builds, anxiety flares up into aggression, revealing a raw undercurrent of panic and hostility.
Punk Rock premiered in 2009 at the Lyric Hammersmith, London.