This is Our Youth

Previewed 2 March 2002, Opened 15 March 2002, Closed 15 June 2002 at the Garrick Theatre

Previewed 13 November 2002, Opened 20 November 2002, Closed 15 March 2003 at the Garrick Theatre

A major production of Kenneth Lonergan's This is Our Youth in London

Set in 1982 at the dawn of the Regan era, Kenneth Lonergan's first play depicts forty-eight hours in the lives of Dennie, Warren and Jessica - three rich and bored middle-class teenagers from New York's Upper West Side. Caught up in the new yuppie culture (for which money, power and success are all), they have stolen $15,000 from their parents without much of an idea of what to do with it. So, without a care for the consequences, they blow it all on a reckless, hedonistic spending spree! PLEASE NOTE: Age limit 14 years and older.

2002: First Cast - Hayden Christensen, Jake Gyllenhaal and Anna Paquin

2002: Second Cast - Matt Damon, Casey Affleck and Summer Phoenix

2002: Third Cast - Kieran Culkin, Colin Hanks and Alison Lohman

2003: Fourth Cast - Chris Klein, Freddie Prinze Jr and Heather Burns

Directed by Laurence Boswell, with designs by Jeremy Herbert, lighting by Adam Silverman, sound by Fergus O'Hare and costumes by Iona Kenrick.

Kenneth Lonergan's West End credits include Lobby Hero.

Laurence Boswell's West End credits include David Williamson's Up For Grabs (Wyndham's Theatre 2002).

During the performance break from June to November 2002, Martin McDonagh's The Lieutenant Of Inishmore was staged at the Garrick Theatre.

2002: First Cast - Hayden Christensen, Jake Gyllenhaal and Anna Paquin

Previewed 2 March 2002, Opened 15 March 2002, Closed 20 April 2002 at the Garrick Theatre

The cast featured Hayden Christensen as 'Dennis', Jake Gyllenhaal 'Warren' and Anna Paquin 'Jessica'.

"With a Reagan campaign poster on the wall and a cast of alienated New York rich kids in revolt against the parents who are paying their bills, Kenneth Lonergan's This is Our Youth offers itself as a profile of America's "slacker" generation. To help us out, the characters analyse their historical plight and present themselves as graduates of schools that "think it's gonna cripple you for life if they teach you how to spell". But as their drug-dealing, virginity-shedding, status games and zest for blaming everything on the old folks remain as much in vogue as ever, their story might as well be set now as in the 1980s... Not a lot happens on stage. Warren, expelled from the parental home, swipes $150,000 from his near-criminal father and moves in with his overbearing friend Dennis, with whom he blows the loot on a ruinously expensive night of love at the Plaza hotel and an even more ruinous drug deal. Nothing, sexually, financially or pharmaceutically gets resolved, but by the end they are no longer children... Lonergan's dialogue is a wondrous compound of playground obscenities, business shorthand and the jargon of the caring professions. Much of the comedy stems from his masterly juggling with these and other registers. Besides its entertainment value, the dialogue also shows how inherited speech habits can control behaviour. And what counts is less the events themselves than their effect in goading the characters into finding their own words. This particularly applies to Jake Gyllenhaal's Warren, the character who grows up the most. Essentially, though, Laurence Boswell's superb young company operate with the rapport of jazz musicians; you may enjoy Hayden Christensen's Wagnerian tantrums and Anna Paquin's crackerjack mating dance, but what you most remember is them all jamming together." The Sunday Telegraph

"Are we ready for the 1980s? I don't think so. The implication of Kenneth Lonergan's title is that we might feel nostalgia or pity for 1982, the date of this drama about three spoilt New York brats whose naiviety about life is contrasted with their would-be sophistication about hard drugs. It's set in one of those garrets that stretch back to La boheme, and the notional plot is that the nerdish Warren has stolen quantities of cash from his unpleasant father as 'the proceeds from my unhappy childhood', and doesn't know how to handle this (or any other) situation. He turns to his supposedly hip, drug-dealing friend Dennis for help, but doesn't exactly get it. He does, however, succeed in a catfish way with Jessica, only for things to go wrong again. Directed by Laurence Boswell, as naturalistic actors they do their stuff quite well, with Hayden Christensen excelling in his exposition of the art of the deal. But not caring about people was one of those 1980s things, and it is difficult to care very much about this abject lot." The Sunday Times

This is Our Youth in London at the Garrick Theatre previewed from 2 March 2002, opened on 15 March 2002 and closed on 20 April 2002.

2002: Second Cast - Matt Damon, Casey Affleck and Summer Phoenix

Previewed 25 April 2002, Opened 7 May 2002, Closed 15 June 2002 at the Garrick Theatre

The cast featured Matt Damon as 'Dennis', Casey Affleck 'Warren' and Summer Phoenix 'Jessica'.

"Clever though it is, I didn't like it a lot. It is a grungy, life-style drama with a lot of bickering and too little plot for its own good. Matt Damon is the short-fused drug dealer, Dennis, whose naive buddy, Warren, has snitched $15,000 from his entrepreneur dad. While Dennis does his deals, Warren blows a fortune on his new date Jessica (Summer Phoenix). The year is 1982 and these coked-up members of Ronald Reagan's nightmare generation are put under the microscope. The dialogue is an explosive mix of obscenities, dope chat and business patter as these well-off Jewish kids hang around on the cusp of adulthood. Damon is too old and one-note in the ferocious way he humiliates his best pal - the guy to watch in this is Casey Affleck, as Damon's goofy buddy, Warren, always stoned, but capable of moments of real tenderness. The reversal of power between the two boys by the end is brilliantly handled, even if the writer takes it nowhere and Summer Phoenix is good as Warren's sexually available, argumentative date. At its best it is funny, disarming and an indictment of the egomaniac American youth at its cynical worst, but it is pretty limited in scope. By the end, director Laurence Boswell's production does nothing to prevent you shrugging a mild 'So what?' at this starry event." The Daily Express

"Recast with older stars too old to play kids, they give us the goofy adolescents with an effortful dumbness and strenuous gawkiness. It has all the fizz of flat champagne. Matt Damon has great teeth, but none of the requisite charisma as the drug-dealing bully-boy Dennis. Casey Affleck, who succeeds in swallowing my favourite line - 'I was never into the whole cigarette thing, but I hear good things about it' - is a pale shadow of Jake Gyllenhaal's funny and engaging, fumbling, bumbling Warren. The character of Jessica, the girl who wants to be a babe, eludes Summer Phoenix. They are just, like, totally so not good. A largely mirthless experience."The Mail on Sunday

"Kenneth Lonergan's play, now revitalised by the presence of Matt Damon, is a Mike Leigh-ish incursion into the disaffected youth of 1982. Or rather three youths, each still blissfully unaware of the destructive-creative energy of punk or the coming demands of adult, suburban life... Matt Damon slips easily into the role of Dennis, all seedy entrepreneurism and hectoring 'I Created You' anger followed each time by sweetness, lies and smiles. As Warren, Casey Affleck is magnificently gawky, arrhythmic and out-of-kilter even with himself, feeding Dennis the adoration he quite openly demands. Only Summer Phoenix as Jessica comes over as occasionally forced. But if you enjoy laughing simply because someone inhales deeply and says 'This is strong pot', if you like watching two sexually inept people swallowing each other's tongues in the snog from hell, or even if you enjoy the agony of remembering it all, then this will amuse you. Like Lonergan's recent indie film You Can Count On Me, each moment has its strengths but it quickly runs out of fizz, quickly turns into sameness. David Mamet's early great plays found a poetry in the endless burbling of dropouts or real estate salesmen and in that way he energised the two hours of nothingness by making us listen hard to how energetically they were saying nothing. Lonergan's characters say nothing in a completely nothingish way. So the title is honest: this is their youth and do you really expect youths to say anything worth listening to?" The Independent

This is Our Youth in London at the Garrick Theatre previewed from 25 April 2002, opened on 7 May 2002 and closed on 15 June 2002

2002: Third Cast - Kieran Culkin, Colin Hanks and Alison Lohman

Previewed 13 November 2002, Opened 20 November 2002, Closed 11 January 2003 at the Garrick Theatre

The cast featured Kieran Culkin as 'Warren', Colin Hanks as 'Dennis' and Alison Lohman as 'Jessica'.

"Hanks Junior, so good in the charming but stupid new film Orange County, plays another child of priviledge here, but is more strained and monotonous on stage than on screen. His sidekick, Warren (Kieran Culkin), wasted and spotty, is a delightfully original creation. Alison Lohman, despite a very bad wig...[is] a new Shirley MacLaine in the making I'd say." The Daily Mail

"The producers of Kenneth Lonergan's play need only look to the example of Art, which has replaced its original three actors 26 times. They could go on attracting celebrity cublets and relatives of the famous across the Atlantic until 2007 and still not have exhausted the patience of a starstruck British audience. Not that the three performers now following Hayden Christensen, Matt Damon, Summer Phoenix and other youthful Americans into the Garrick are lacking in talent. There's nothing blatantly opportunistic about the casting of Colin Hanks, who is the son of Tom, or Kieran Culkin, who is Macaulay's brother, or Alison Lohman, who appears with Michelle Pfeiffer in the movie White Oleander. They certainly did not leave me feeling that I had overrated a dark comedy which makes you feel the confusion of the poor little rich kids who came of age in the go-getting 1980s. Still, thanks maybe to a collective touch of nerves, all three seemed more monochrome last night than they might have been... But you still see what Lonergan meant by ruefully calling this finely observed, wittily written play This Is Our Youth. Maybe the Dennises and Warrens of 1982 have become lawyers or, as Jessica forecasts, surgeons, but it's more likely that those lost boys have become lost adults: purposeless, unhappy Peter Pans with greying hair and no Wendy to look after them. And who can say that their counterparts will flounder less and fare better today?" The Times

This is Our Youth in London at the Garrick Theatre previewed from 13 November 2002, opened on 20 November 2002 and closed on 11 January 2003

2003: Fourth Cast - Chris Klein, Freddie Prinze Jr and Heather Burns

Previewed 13 January 2003, Opened 16 January 2003, Closed 15 March 2003 at the Garrick Theatre

The cast featured Chris Klein as 'Dennis', Freddie Prinze Jr as 'Warren' and Heather Burns as 'Jessica'.

This is Our Youth in London at the Garrick Theatre opened on 16 January 2003 and closed on 15 March 2003