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Edinburgh Fringe 2023


Firstbyte Theatre

Genre: New Writing, Youth Theatre

Venue: Greenside: Nicholson Square


Low Down

One foolish moment can change your life forever. Gabe is hurting and lost, Rose is trapped

and unseen, both are grieving. Two people, linked in life and death, form an unlikely

friendship as they desperately try to come to terms with what happened that fateful day.


This is an excellent show by an accomplished youth theatre. It is also the most misleading show title I’ve come across at this year’s fringe! However, there is a reason. Burnley YT started creating the work in February. They needed a title and text to submit to the Fringe and their early ideas were around stalking and a completely different character who died.

Since then the show has developed into a story of the impact that one careless moment can have. And the secrets that can be kept.

The work was largely devised by the company supported by director/writer Karen Metcalfe and director Rachael Bamber.

The story centres on the day five years ago when Rowan drowned and Gabriel tried to save him.  It weaves between then and now, five years later, the tension building as the narrative both families have accepted gradually unravels.

The ensemble cast of 11 are all on stage throughout, still as they wait and moving smoothly and fluently through the short scenes interspersed with poetry and movement sections creating a sense of the fear and panic of that day at the reservoir.

Their performances are among the best I have seen from young actors. Naturalistic and at ease in the parts they played. Those playing the parents of Rowan and Gabe are especially convincing as they tackle the older roles. Fern Fleming (Rose) and Issac Brierley (Gabriel) are exceptional as they explore their feelings about grief, about what happened and for each other. 

The story is supported by a subtle and effective sound design and a set comprising six small blocks that serve to create spaces within the characters homes or at the reservoir. 

There is a gradual reveal of the events of the day five years ago as the action moves between then and the present. Scenes are short and impactful. The pace varied by the inclusion of spoken word poetry and movement recreating the fear and horror of that 

This is an excellent show by a young company that deserves to be seen widely.