Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging 

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ANGUS, THINGS, AND FULL FRONTAL SNOGGING, Griffin Theatre Company. Christina Calvit's cheery adaptation of Louise Rennison's best-selling novel is high-energy and fun--and best suited to the young teens who are Rennison's devoted readers. Georgia (Katherine Nawrocki) is a goofy, smart-alecky 14-year-old English schoolgirl who sharply observes and questions the rituals involved in getting and keeping a boyfriend. She's surrounded by chaos: her father (Matthew Lon Walker) lost his job and has taken a new one in New Zealand; her mum (Katie Jeep) might be having an affair with the interior decorator (also played by Walker); her best friend, Jas (Sara Hoyer, who's perky but with an edge), is crazy about a boy (Kevin Kingston); and Georgia's cat, Angus (Paul S. Holmquist), is tearing up everything he can get his claws on, including neighbors' pets.

These goings-on are faithful to the book but don't leave a lot of room for plot development, which gives the play--directed by Richard Barletta and Jennie Cleghorn--an episodic feel that's wearing by the end. Still, the comments about sex and love are fresh and true and likely to resonate with young adolescents, who get short shrift when it comes to theater. There's plenty of slang from across the pond, but happily the most confusing expressions ("full frontal snogging" is intense kissing) are translated for us by actors who pop out of scenic designer Alan Donahue's wall of candy-colored doors.


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