Doll (Noarah Lopez Holden) is a teenager. A pregnant teenager. Everyone at school and even her mum think that there is something odd about this pregnancy. Ted (George Caple), her best friend considers helping her raise the baby, that is if there is one at all. Epic Love and Pop Songs starts out light-hearted about a girl desperate to be noticed by anyone and everyone but as the play progresses, it becomes darker. Doll becomes confused about what’s real and what isn’t which really shows the pressures teenagers are under around their peers.
Many people have compared this play to Juno simply because of the similar storyline and recognisable characters however, while it may start out like this, by the time it ends it seems more like a storyline from Eastenders or Hollyoaks.
The initial story of teenager-who-may-or-may-not-be-pregnant – is interesting enough but there are so many subplots that the play becomes slightly absurd. The audience learn about the two teenagers’ difficult pasts and presents as they both take on the roles of all the other characters through a variety of small skits.
In fact it’s a bit unclear what format they are attempting to tell the story in. At first it seems like it could be a vlog but then it seems like they’re talking directly to an audience and eventually it looks like they’ve put on a play but they keep breaking in and out of character. There are also some confusing dance scenes throughout the first part and although it doesn’t fit into the story, it is a lot of fun to watch.
Holden and Caple are truly fantastic in their roles. Their commitment to portraying each and every emotion of their characters is really phenomenal. Holden really impresses as Doll, a teenager who pretends she doesn’t care about anything but shows her vulnerability when she isn’t even comforted by her own mother. Caple also starts out eager to please Doll but becomes more serious as the play progresses.
It does seem like a lot of content is put into a short space of time and some of the subplots seems unnecessary or underdeveloped. However, Ted and Doll’s friendship is the best part of this show as they speak to many other teenagers who feel different or isolated by their peers.
Epic Love and Pop Songs plays Pleasance Theatre until 9 October 2016. For more information and tickets, see The Pleasance Theatre website.