IN MY DAY, youth theatre meant adult drama performed with more gusto than talent by large casts of children. Now, thanks to companies such as Edinburgh's Strange Town, the kids are doing custom-built shows that demonstrate what they can do, not what they can't.
It's a principle taken one step further by Strange Town Young Company which lets 18 to 25-year-olds showcase not only their acting talent – which is considerable – but also their writing skills. Limited Editions is a compendium of six 20-minute plays written by Tim Primrose, Amy Drummond, Beth Godfrey and Sam Siggs, who either direct or act in one another's work.
Remember the names because all have a keen ear for dialogue and, even in this brief format, a keen sense of dramatic tension and authorial purpose. Even a fanciful comedy such as Siggs's Shitdogs, in which a tiger escapes from the zoo, is actually an investigation of power structures among the disenfranchised.
Behind the gothic excess of Primrose's Pussy Whipped, in which a polite wine bar conversation erupts into a murderous frenzy, is a serious status game. Godfrey, who finds power through cake in Primrose's play, paints a touching portrait of a shotgun marriage in To Have and To Hold, while Drummond turns in two well-observed character studies in Please Give 1 and 2. All this and an explosive coup de thtre in Siggs's The Pest makes for an evening that's as fulfilling today as it is promising for tomorrow.