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Big Yikes!

Set in the whirlwind after high school ends and before uni offers are out, 'Big Yikes' navigates the awkward realities of adulthood, proving to be both treacherous and liberating.

Big Yikes is Playlab Theatre’s new Australian text by emerging playwright Madeleine Border. We follow the endearing yet conflicted protagonist, Lorrie (rebranding as Loxie), as she leaves the safety net of home and adolescence. From navigating a new job in hospitality to realising a phone call to Mum can't save you from a house party anymore, Loxie's odyssey encapsulates the essence of the coming-of-age narrative.

Images by Stephen Henry 

Border’s script is strong, each scene a poignant reflection of anxiety and uncertainty that accompany the transition into independence. With keen insight and organic storytelling, Border skilfully comments on the complexities of “trying to adult” in contemporary society without overt political commentary. The exclusion of strict gendered characters was incredibly refreshing, effectively communicating the universality of navigating adulthood.

Juliette Milne's professional debut is particularly commendable, as she brought Loxie to life beyond immaturity and awkwardness. Milne’s vocality captured Loxie’s essence with scattered speech patterns and detailed physicalisation to reveal character's turmoil and vulnerability. The ensemble of Billy Fogarty, Tenielle Plunkett and Christopher Paton were all outstanding, building moments of introspection with bursts of whimsicality. From karaoke escapades to heartfelt poetry about mundane yet meaningful aspects of life —why are there no light up sneakers in adult size?— each performer committed to individuality with flair that supported Milne’s performance exceptionally. Paton’s performance was a stand out, as they delivered the most memorable lines of the script with mastery in comedic delivery and timing.

Images by Stephen Henry 


Towards the end of the play, the scenes felt repetitive at times  which detached the build in narrative. Overall, the piece could have benefitted from a shorter run time and refining, particularly in the crime podcast transitions. Where the script and performances truely excelled was Loxie and Darcy’s relationship. Beneath candid discussions about passersby in the park, and $5 bottles of wine, Border captures the messy, beautiful complexity of friendships that have to transform as we do. I couldn’t get enough of the scenes between these two characters and Milne and Paton are to be commended for their performance chemistry. 

The creative staging, adorned with vibrant pops of colour in both costuming and set design, elevates the world of the play. Within the pop and polished visual storytelling (and handful of lizard jokes!) lies a story that pulsates with undeniable authenticity. Through this, the play manages to strike a chord of familiarity with certain audiences while invoking a sense of nostalgia in others. It's clear why this play has been deemed perfect for school groups and tours. Though, even as a young woman in my early twenties, I found Big Yikes deeply resonant. 

Big Yikes! was performed until Saturday 23rd March at the Brisbane Powerhouse.

You can purchase the play here.

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Bridie Middleton
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