High School Hell: Zeitgeist Stage’s ‘Punk Rock’ has nothing to do with music

From left to right: James Fay, Alexandra Marie Harrington, Alana Osborn-Lief, and Phil Gillen
From left: James Fay, Alexandra Marie Harrington, Alana Osborn-Lief and Phil Gillen in “Punk Rock.”

Simon Stephens’ tale of teen angst glosses over the expected topics that challeneg 17-year-olds — sex, drugs and coming-of-age challenges — instead delving headfirst into a seething cauldron of adolescent rage that, sadly, begets violence.

We’ve seen these characters before. Think “The Breakfast Club,” but replace Molly Ringwald and company with a group of affluent British teens grappling with issues that run the gamut from bullying, humiliation and burning to get into Oxford. Then you have Zeitgeist Stage’s “Punk Rock.”

There’s Cissy (Alexandra Marie Harrington), the perfect blonde with the grades to back it all up; Bennett (James Fay), her insufferable, bullying boyfriend; Chadwick (Alex Levy), the genius loser who bears the brunt of Bennett’s ire; Nicholas (Diego Buscaglia), the token hot guy on campus; Lilly (Emily White), the fascinating new girl; Tanya (Alana Osborn-Lief), the sweet one; and William (Phil Gillen), the — seemingly — normal one.

Though it takes some time for the story to distinguish itself from typical adolescent melodramas, once it does you can expect to be transfixed by what unfolds. The very walls feel like they’re closing in while watching this riveting Zeitgeist Stage production.

Bennett’s relentless bullying is so disturbing it’s hard to resist the urge to jump onstage and pummel the obnoxious smartass on behalf of everyone who’s ever suffered at the hands of a teenaged tormentor. When Chadwick finally does respond, in one of the show’s most explosive moments, it’s equally challenging not to stand up and applaud mid-scene.

But, as in life, it’s the person you least suspect who ultimately wreaks the most havoc. Though you feel the pain of the star student when she gets a B, and you begin to understand the relief someone may get from cutting or burning, these allowances still do not fully prepare you for the gut-wrenching climaxes that await them.

Given its proximity to the bombings at the Boston Marathon, the violence and torment in “Punk Rock” is especially haunting, but nonetheless — and perhaps even more so — superb.

If you go

“Punk Rock” 
Through May 25
BCA Black Box Theatre
539 Tremont St., Boston
$25, 617-933-8600
zeitgeiststage.com



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Police seek man accidentally released a year early…

Cops are keeping an eye out for a Bronx man who was reportedly let out of Rikers Island a year before his released date.

National

Pioneers for domestic violence push on

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. Two decades have passed since the O.J. Simpson trial captivated the country. But in the 20 years…

Local

Newest java joint in bastion of hipness is…

Little may represent the change the neighborhood is undergoing right now like the arrival of the first Starbucks. The chain which is ubiquitous in Manhattan, opened a Williamsburg store at…

National

Black and white are the new orange at…

By Brendan O'Brien(Reuters) - Black and white are the new orange in a Michigan county where the sheriff has made a wardrobe change for jail…

Music

Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks more accessible than Animal…

Believe it or not, Avey Tare — the man in the mustachioed mask pictured here in the pool of blood — may have made the poppiest music of his career.

Entertainment

‘The Leftovers’ recap: Season 1, Episode 4, ‘B.J.…

Last week’s episode of “The Leftovers” was apparently a fluke, because this week’s episode returns to focusing on the Garveys and it is so boring.…

Movies

Interview: Luc Besson says 'Lucy' is very different…

Filmmaker Luc Besson talks about his new film "Lucy," how it's different than "Limitless" and his crazy first conversation with Egyptian actor Amr Waked.

Music

Weezer releases first new song since 2010

Weezer releases "Back to the Shack," their first new song in almost six years.

NFL

'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.

MLB

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according…

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according to report

NFL

Giants lineman Chris Snee to retire: Reports

The Giants report to training camp on Tuesday, but Chris Snee may not be there when they do.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony talks about his charity work in…

As he is used to doing every year, NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony is going to visit Puerto Rico to do work for his foundation.

Tech

RocketSkates let users roll with a motor

Los Angeles company Acton has raised funds on Kickstarter to roll out a nifty alternative – motor-powered "RocketSkates."

Tech

Knicks star Carmelo Anthony becomes a tech entrepreneur

He's been an All-Star, an Olympian, and a celebrity spokesperson. Now NBA player Carmelo Anthony is adding the position "tech entrepreneur" to his resume. Along…

Tech

Ulises 1 is the world's first singing satellite

A group of artists and engineers in Mexico have unveiled Ulises 1, the world's first opera-singing satellite.

Home

Wallscape on a budget

Skip the wallpaper and ombre an accent wall instead.