THE TEENAGE GIRL DIARIES by Jay Teitel, directed by Rebecca Brown, with Melyssa Ade, Erin MacKinnon, Michelle Monteith and Nicole Underhay. Presented by Great Hailey at the Factory Studio (125 Bathurst). Runs to April 13, Wednesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinees Sunday 2:30 pm. $18-$25, Sunday pwyc. 416-504-9971. Rating: NN
Jay Teitel's the teenage girl Diaries is a glorified young adult play that tries to look at the tumultuous inner lives of contemporary teenage girls but ends up being as insightful as a Seventeen magazine cover.It follows one eventful day in the life of four high-schoolers. Three of them -- bossy alpha female Carrie (Nicole Underhay), pretty but dumb Mila (Erin MacKinnon) and nerdy Doreen (Michelle Monteith) -- have been friends since grade three and meet three times a day for a diary-writing ritual. New student Roberta (Melyssa Ade) quickly snakes her way into their private lives and fears by (you guessed it) reading their diaries.
A slow start sets up false expectations. The girls carry see-through backpacks for security reasons, and overhead speakers announce spot checks for guns. Hmm. Is this a dark post-Columbine satire about teen violence?
Don't bet your Noxzema triple- clean wash (the show's corporate sponsor). Before you know it, Teitel is sacrificing character complexity for multiple plot twists.
The final half-hour is watchable, but there's something cheap and tawdry about it.
The four actors look convincingly young, and they've all memorized their lines. But since they're given mere Breakfast Club-style shells for characters, there's only so far they can go.
Director Rebecca Brown doesn't help things with a distracting production that adds flashy sound and lighting effects as if to compensate for the trivial text.
One final irony. If the teens are writing such personal stuff -- sex, suicide, murder and betrayal -- why haven't they bought diaries with locks and keys? Duh.email@example.com