Absolute Beginners is a stage adaptation of Colin MacInnes’s seminal novel of adolescence, set in London in 1958. It is a play alive with the excitement of the beginning of the teenager, of a time when youth culture was emerging for the first time, and of a city buzzing with slang, jazz and flaring racial tensions.
The play follows a young freelance photographer, who has been offered a job by a television producer taking pictures of anything to do with teenage life, telling it as it is. He needs to make five hundred pounds so he can impress Suzette, the love of his life with an appetite for the finer things. But time’s running out, she’s engaged to a flash older man, the producer decides that teenage life is a little too challenging for his audiences, and the racist thugs who have been menacing his friends finally attack. Absolute Beginners is a vibrant portrait of Britain emerging from the post-war years as a multi-cultural nation, and of a teenager working out what it means to be young.
Absolute Beginners was first performed in 2007 at the Lyric Theatre, London.