There’s definitely a cringeworthy streak running through Wego Drama’s Alan’s Awkward (Choose Your Own) Adventures. Created for children of no specific age—although 8+ is probably most appropriate—this student theatre outfit from the West Chicago Community High School aim to give agency to the audience: we get to choose the storyline… in theory.
In reality, there are only two genuine occasions where audiences can shout out which way they’d like the story to go, and there is no other interactive element. Curiously billed as running at 60 minutes (when in fact it ran at 30), this cliché-hobbled, clunky production fails to provide enough fun and engagement for kids, or enough depth for adults.
Alan (Dylan Davidson) and Golden (Robert Bradley) are polar opposites at school. The former is a conventionally friendless geek while the latter is successful at everything he touches. He’s golden, remember?! The detective and spy missions Alan embarks upon are intended to reveal the value of friendship.
Maddeningly, every single line is a hollow platitude and you can virtually see the stage directions being acted out. This has nothing to do with the company being from high school; there are plenty of competent and challenging young, amateur theatre groups. This is regrettably about Mark Begovich's poor writing and lack of basic directorial coordination. It’s not too far from a Chris Lilley school production in Summer Heights High.
The original music, likeable effort and occasional moments of humour are the qualities that redeem this otherwise painfully lacklustre show. Awkward it is, but not for the reasons intended.