Friday, February 26, 2021

THE FOURTEENTH STOP (Dare Festival/Speaks of Rivers/Upstart Theatre)****


By Megan


Available until: Livestreams at 5pm on Friday 26th and 3pm on Saturday 27th,

I think this is a very good play but it is very technical! You have to make an avatar and go on a virtual walk through the festival to the theatre and I didn’t understand what to do at first. You will need to use Zoom too. It might be better to go to the website early. Then you will have time to work everything out and you can enjoy it if you’re not worried about missing the play.

The Fourteenth Stop is about a girl called Taaliyah who is going on a bus ride with her mum. It’s a really exciting bus ride and a very long one, starting from from West Croydon in South London. They go through places I’ve heard of like New Malden and Kingston which might be on Crossrail 2 if it is ever built. The final stop is the fourteenth stop, Heathrow. I don’t think Heathrow will be on Crossrail 2 so the buses will still be very important. Bus journeys can be very boring for some people… but not for Taaliyah.

Taaliyah is very interested in travelling, especially flying, so going to Heathrow is very exciting. She has a special map of the world and she wants to visit lots of different places like the rainforest one day. But even a bus journey can be quite exciting when you have imagination. Even if you fall asleep, your imagination can create your dreams.

If Taaliyah looked out of the window, she would probably see darkness. Maybe houses and shops lit up by streetlights. But she doesn’t see those things. Instead, she sees oceans and forests, animals and people. Her mind is filled with magic. Her world is filled with music and dancing. All she needs to do is sit on the bus and let her brain create everything she wants to see. All those places she really hopes she’ll get to visit one day.

A lot of the language is very direct and friendly because that is the kind of person Taaliyah is but when she drifts away to her imaginary places, the language becomes very poetic and beautiful, like she’s gone away to another world where everything is different, maybe even Taaliyah herself. It’s a very musical show with lots of brilliant dancing that makes you feel happy and excited.

Taaliyah is very clever and resourceful. When she finds herself in a difficult situation, she thinks of three ways of getting out of it. She chose the one I hoped she would. It would maybe not be quite so much of a good choice in the real world because she needs to be safe but she shows that she is brave and resourceful as well as imaginative. There is sadness in this play but Taaliyah is very inspiring. There is a lot she could be sad about but she is so positive and she finds fun in everything she does. I think her attitude will help her so much and I believe Taaliyah will get to her rainforest one day.

Aimee Louise Bevan who plays Taaliyah is really brilliant. She is so confident and comfortable onscreen. She is really relatable and likeable and although she is inspiring and amazing, she is also very down to earth, the sort of person you could quite easily meet whether that is on a bus or in a rainforest. Taaliyah’s mum (played by Jessica Manu) doesn’t have much to do, she is probably tired but she is really loving and supportive to Taaliyah and she lets her be herself and explore her dreams and I’m sure she’s a big part of the reason Taaliyah is so happy. Delvine Pitt is lovely as Miss Macaw, who needs Taaliyah to help her with something very important.

The Fourteenth Stop is a really clever idea and I love the way the writers, Yasmin Keita, Roberta Livingston and Cassiopeia Berkeley-Agyepong have taken such a simple idea like a bus journey and made it into such an exciting story where lots of different and exciting things happen.

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