Now playing at Issaquah's Village Theatre, Trust Me is a musical written for teens, by teens.
Full of original music sung by a talented cast, great acting and dancing, this show tells the story of a friendship between two teenage guys, both facing their own personal problems. The two friends have drifted apart and now attend separate boarding schools in the same town. This musical meets the issues facing contemporary teens head on, and although it is intense at times, there is plenty of comedic and musical relief.
This musical was originally written and performed on KIDSTAGE (Village Theatre's youth theater) in 2006, and has been reinvented and updated by a new cast.
The show continues the story of best friends Calvin and Turner, two characters from a previous KIDSTAGE show Last Exit. Since the death of Turner’s brother the year before, the friends have fallen out of touch. The show opens with the two teens arriving at separate boarding schools, Calvin at the Virginia Performing Arts Conservatory and Turner at the Ridgeway Military Academy.
The set is very minimal, but the cast makes good use of what they have, climbing up and down ladders, and on and off platforms of varied heights. The characters are, above all, “real.” No cardboard characters here! Even the villain in the piece is fleshed out with backstory. The singing and dancing is supported by musicians tucked under the stage playing keyboards, guitar, percussion and bass.
The contrast between the liberal performing arts school and the strict military academy, which also functions as a reform school, provides the first layer of conflict. The script doesn’t shy away from tough issues faced by teens today. Alcoholism, drug abuse, suicide, domestic violence, homophobia, and romantic relationships are just some of the problems faced by the characters.
Although the almost three-hour show is intense at times, there is plenty of comic relief as well. The show is gripping, uplifting and will leave you plenty to think and talk about. My teen and I loved it and would highly recommend seeing this show. The cast received an enthusiastic standing ovation which was in my opinion, richly deserved.
My 14-year-old daughter said, "“This musical was real in the best of ways and hit home. It portrayed teenagers truthfully. I loved it!”
Parents should know
As I said before, this play is gritty and intense at times and contains plenty of cursing. Pretty much all of the characters, all teens, come from badly dysfunctional families. Suicide, drug use and addiction, anger management, and romantic relationships, both hetero and homosexual, are prominent themes. There is some onstage physical violence. Underage drinking portrayed and drug use is mentioned, but not shown, onstage. Religion, politics, the military and gay marriage are discussed.
A sign in the theater says that this musical is considered “PG-13.” I definitely would not recommend it for kids under age 13. If you aren’t sure if your teen is ready for this, check out this great synopsis for a more detailed description (it contains spoilers). If you decide this is appropriate for your teen, I highly recommend going, not only for the great discussion that will follow but for the entertainment.
In the theater, there is only bottled water and small snacks for sale. But the theater is right next to several eateries, including Domino’s Pizza, Confetti Cupcakes, Yum-E Yogurt, and many other choices.
There is plenty of parking, all a short walk to the theater.
Photo credit: Jean Johnson. Property of Village Theatre.