This one’s a real treat no matter which way you look at it. Take the cast: six acting legends of Australian theatre. Or take the play: written specially to make these legends seventeen again. Or take the writer: one of the funniest and most delightful theatrical imaginations in the country. Or take the director: the wonderfully inventive creator of Belvoir’s A Christmas Carol. Or take the central theme: life, whether it’s stretching out before you or laid out behind you, is a wonderful thing.

Matthew Whittet (Cinderella, Old Man) is the true original mind of Australian theatre – actor, writer, muse, inventor of marvels, scribe of human beauty and lover of oddity. Seventeen is the play he’s been getting ready to write for a long time. It’s about the cusp of adulthood, and it has been written for a rollcall of the country’s great senior actors. To be precise:

Peter Carroll, Maggie Dence, John Gaden, Genevieve Lemon, Barry Otto, Anna Volska. The lot of them.

These venerables play a group of teenagers (!) drinking, singing, dancing, gabbling, worrying and maybe even pashing (!!) their way through their last night of childhood and their first night of adulthood.

Funny, immature, wise and a little bit but quite beautifully sad, Seventeen is about the size of life.


Peter Carroll
Maggie Dence
John Gaden
Genevieve Lemon

Barry Otto
Anna Volska


By Matthew Whittet
Director Anne-Louise Sarks
Set Designer Robert Cousins
Costume Designer Mel Page
Lighting Designer Paul Jackson
Composer Alan John
Sound Designer Nate Edmondson
Dramaturg Anthea Williams
Choreographer Sara Black
Movement Director Scott Witt
Stage Manager Luke McGettigan
Assistant Stage Manager Vanessa Martin


Seventeen is a comedy first and foremost, but when youth and old age seem to melt into each other it shimmers.

Jason Blake | The Sydney Morning Herald

The strength of the show is that it delves into the moments of clarity and self-reflection, behind the usual scenes of angst-driven adolescence.

Emma Froggatt | The Guardian

…get on down to Belvoir and revel in a show that combines charm and intensity and most of life’s deeper truths. Totes recommended.

Diana Simmonds | Stage Noise

It’s hard to know how it will appeal to the teen demographic, but Matthew Whittet’s play has things to say to them that go deeper than the soundtrack of hits by Iggy Azalea, Farrell and Taylor Swift, beyond tinnies and retorts of “tool” and “fucktard”, and beyond mere affirmation of their experience of being at that precarious, exciting, anxious age.

Dee Jefferson | Time Out


Liam McLoughlin | Arts Hub