Trophy Boys Review (VIC)

ATYP’s reviewing program was created to give young people a platform to voice their opinions and experiences while developing skills in critical reflection. The views expressed are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of ATYP or its staff.


People and society change over time. As a teenager, it’s very rare to see anyone able to accurately represent the environment that surrounds me every day – whether that be the good parts or the bad.

Emmanuelle Mattana in Trophy Boys, 2023. Photo by Ben Andrews ©

Emmanuelle Mattana’s Trophy Boys, playing at Fortyfivedownstairs, genuinely flabbergasted me. From its perfect depiction of current-day teenage society to the accurate annunciation of issues that have plagued equality in humanity for centuries, it articulated every single point it wanted to with complete poise, sophistication, and comedy.

The story follows the Year 12 finalists of the inter-school debating team. They represent their private boys’ school with boisterous pride and celebrate each other’s contributions to the group as they wait with great anticipation for their final topic. The win is in the bag, they’ve beat their opponent – a private girls’ school – countless times since Year 7, and there is absolutely nothing that can stop their streak, not even if the topic is-

“Feminism has failed women”



The characters are witty and hilarious but are also realistic and flawed with dark actions lingering over their heads. I’ve seen these schoolboys before and calling them an archetype or caricature would not be doing the writing or performances justice. Even in all its satirical comedy, the four boys feel like real kids plucked out from an Australian private school and placed into the middle of a theatre in Flinder Lane, surrounded by an audience who watches their secrets and truly internalised misogyny unravel with the events of the show. Although these characters are antagonistic in some way or another at one point in the show, the way in which they were raised gives an explanation for their behaviour. It brings up another issue in itself – how parents raise their children decides the future experiences of other children.

Fran Sweeney, Gaby Seow, Emmanuelle Mattana, and Leigh Lule in Trophy Boys, 2023. Photo by Ben Andrews ©

Exploring themes of social inequality and misogynistic environments, Trophy Boys uses its fast and dark humour to highlight what we as an audience should reflect on with our younger generations, and the potential loops our problems are falling into.

The very issue that plagues many teenagers today is touched on in one of the most climactic moments in the performance: Can you let the consequences of your past’s negative actions serve their time? Or will you look for a way out without changing, causing harm to other people?

The audience rarely stopped smiling during the first act of the show. But by the second act, the discomfort was evident as the true nature of the presumably respectable (or at least tolerable) boys comes out.

For the size of the theatre space, the applause was loud and deserved. It was applause that should be heard by everyone in Melbourne who has the means to go see this show.

It’s rare for a play to get teenagers right, but Trophy Boys was so in touch with its characters and setting that it deserves a five-star review for that alone. Along with the messaging and the deeper issues brought up in the piece, I cannot do anything but give it my highest regard. A true masterpiece of modern-day society.


Eadie [She/her], 17.

The Maybe Pile’s Trophy Boys played at Fortyfivedownstairs Theatre from the 2nd until the 12th of February.