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Edinburgh Fringe 2023

Gate Number 5

Henriette Laursen

Venue: C Aurora


Low Down

One day, she said, I am going to write our love story. And she did. This the story of a Danish student and a refugee who fell in love, managed through a long term relationship, got engaged with the corniest of proposals which nearly failed and then got hitched. In a series of 5 episodes this is the story of a lesbian love affair that worked beautifully. Except it didn’t.


On the day I saw this, it was sparsely attended. That is a travesty because this is exceptionally clever. This is testimony to artists and performers who know the medium in which they are working. It shows great skill and aptitude, and it should be compulsory viewing for many other Fringe performers.

The script and episodic structure wavered a few times and there were times I felt I was unsure of where in the story I was, but it gave scaffolding to the plot. That  built over time and made me comforted in that this was really going somewhere, and our narrator and guide knew where it was headed.

Laursen is a great guide. Her storytelling is very assured. At times I could have done with a little less of the full on anxiety and perhaps some of that being built over time would have been more effective, but it still had an authenticity. The film was crafted so well and the interaction between Laursen and what was onscreen was pitched absolutely perfectly.

Technically, therefore that was a highly impressive part of the whole experience. Having been filmed with other actors involved and a whole creative crew this had an impressive backstage staff involved and almost all of them were absent from the stage. That included the woman she married and for whom she wrote the love story. It was pretty awesome as her absence underlined so much.

When the finale was unravelling before us, I found it less of a shock and more of a plot point about which I had already felt troubled. There is an event early on where Laursen’s partner says something that stuck with me and so this was to prove the critical point at which the doors slid. In a moment this could have gone one of many ways, that the love story takes us one way is highly significant and the split happens early in the film. It makes what happens even more incredible. It also makes politics and media headlines real as we are confronted with a reality we may not like to face.

Overall, I thought that, although not without flaws, this had a great deal of merit and enjoyed it thoroughly. Although the cleverness can obscure how you might judge this, as it has plenty of tricks to draw you in, it was in the delivery of the script, the technical effects and the tragedy which unfolds that truly works. Ultimately it promised early on and then delivered and that is precisely what you want. As it was on the Fringe it also showed that this company had growth opportunities and I would love to see where it takes them next.