REVIEW: ★★★★ Before 30, Waterloo East Theatre

Before 30 might just give you an existential crisis. In the best most entertaining way. If you’ve ever scrolled through your social media, watching everyone else hit major milestones like engagements, first mortgages, babies and thought ‘oh god, what am I doing?’ Then this is a must watch for you.

It is almost painful just how relatable Before 30 is. There are collective laughs, sighs and inward groans from the audience and as our protagonist hilariously takes us through working a dead-end job at the expense of your dreams while just trying to afford to be alive in London.

It is this truthful realness and relatability to the character that carries us through the piece as he takes us on the journey he goes on as it carries out over the course of a year. The honesty with which the character shares his low points and his relationship with depression is truly moving. It therefore feels entirely misplaced, at one of the characters lowest points, when he tries to excuse his depression by commenting that he shouldn’t feel like this because he’s white and from a middle-class family. While the intention for racial self-awareness is noted its unnecessarily applied to a moment that would be demoralising for anyone yet not to the depictions of a young Tibetan women or a co-worker called Mohammed.

Before 30 beautifully draws parallels between the lives our young millennial who might never get a mortgage and his grandfather; who had a mortgage, wife and kids at the same point in his life. Their individual journeys with depression are brought together through the touching building of their relationship. A reminder that lives look different looking in to being lived.

The second half of the piece feels rushed and less drawn out than the first half. Perhaps a reflection of how fast life moves on or can turn around it takes us away from the poignancy and reflection that the ending could leave us on. Before 30 deserves to be seen, even if only to make you feel less alone in not knowing what you’re doing or where you’re going.


Ashanti Wheeler-Artwell

Ashanti Wheeler-Artwell
Ashanti Wheeler-Artwell

Ashanti Wheeler-Artwell is a poet, writer and actor. You can follow her creative endeavours on facebook @Ashanti Wheeler-Artwell Instagram @poetrythatunpicks or on her website 


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