I often look at awkward, self-conscious teens and want to tell them that life is going to be OK. Those years of experiencing things for the first time can strike you down with a plethora of feelings from ecstasy to misery.

The First Time’ explores all of those feelings as five talented women take to the stage in a ‘counsellor’s couch’ style performance to tell their stories.

As the spotlight beams down on the actresses one by one, their stories and characters develop. I was pleasantly surprised they avoided clichés that I expected from a show about teens experiencing their first times – no periods or penises were mentioned.

Instead, ‘The First Time’ tells us of experiences that aren’t often discussed such as exploring one’s sexuality, being physically abused, race and class, and the unfamiliarity of first love. These stories are scattered among some more familiar ones about peer pressure and the stresses of work, study, friendships and daily life.

The characters are complicated, flawed and loveable; making ‘The First Time’ an entertaining and insightful production directed by Neenah Dekkers-Reihana and performed by promising new talent.

I can’t not mention the inclusion of Lorde’s ‘Liability’ on entry, and ‘Green Light’ on exit. So fitting as the stories take us through turmoil to triumph. Nice one.

On now at BATS Theatre – 16th – 25th March
Get your tickets ASAP

Director: Neenah Dekkers-Reihana
Writer: Courtney Rose Brown – won ‘Highly Commended’ from Playmarket’s Playwrights b425 Competition in 2016 for the script.
Cast: Iris Henderson, Trae Te Wiki, Cassandra Sutherland, Ingrid Saker and Courtney Rose Brown.