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Edinburgh Fringe 2018

It’s Not a Sprint

NOVAE Theatre

Genre: Comedy, Drama, New Writing, Physical Theatre, Solo Show

Venue: Pleasance Dome


Low Down

New writing showcasing an accomplished physical comedic actor who portrays a charming if troubled character facing a ticking body clock and a fierce internal demon.


Maddy has a deadline. The big 3 0 is fast approaching, almost as quickly as the finishing line of her first ever marathon. She feels inadequate to face either and is freaking out because her boyfriend of 5 years has just proposed. What she needs now is a calming presence, somebody to help her make good decisions and support her as she tries to be a grown up. What she gets is the bossy, straight-talking, no-nonsense Maddy – the one who lives in her head and won’t butt out. As each mile of the marathon passes Maddy in the flesh (the one we are rooting for) is undermined by the increasingly manipulative observations of her vicious alter-ego.

The themes that writer performer Grace Chapman lays out for dramatic exploration – the curse of the biological clock, the fear of settling, the realisation that the fannying about of a charming twenty-something will now longer cut it – are not original but the character she creates in Maddy is refreshing. Quirky, spirited and fiercely loyal to her mother Maddy is not the two-dimensional heroine of some sub-par chick lit melodrama but the canny product of careful writing brought to life by an accomplished performer. And a fit one; Chapman might not run an actual marathon during this 60 minute show but she estimates she runs 5 miles each performance all the while with a really irritating helium balloon banging about her head and arms.

Credit to movement consultant Julian Spooner who worked with Chapman to embody so much of Maddy’s turmoil and dead pan humour in her physical performance. And credit also to Chris Bartholomew, Sound Designer for composing a soundscape which transports us elegantly to the middle of a pack of runners and then swiftly away so we focus with Maddy on her thoughts.  Direction from Chapman’s theatrical partner Ellie Simpson adds further light and shade, giving depth to Maddy as a unique character when in other hands she could have been simply a cipher, a generalisation of a troubled millennial. This is the complete package – a funny, thoughtful and accomplished show which is well worth checking out.