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FringeReview Scotland 2017

Happier or Better

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland MA Classical and Contemporary Texts students

Genre: Contemporary, Drama, Fringe Theatre, New Writing, Theatre

Venue: Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Chandler Studio Theatre


Low Down

Kate wakes at home with 5 numbskulls behind her as a morning chorus before getting up, getting to work, getting to a life coach session, leaving her job and becoming an emissary for the life coaching before finding a man who finds the new life’s lessons ones he does not want to share over caffeine.


This was a very interesting and entertaining concept though when we had Kate and her chorus it worked best. It lost a little of its way as time progressed and the actors became other characters. As Kate seemed to diminish the doubts in her mind, especially due to the focus that the life coaching gave her, we lost that esprit de corps and feeling of competitive thoughts. We were far from surprised that the chutzpah was ultimately an illusion. As a narrative, it handled the complexities of stripping away the conceit well and issues of loneliness were sensitively portrayed.

With a good script, the direction of David Wood was an important cog in that sensitivity as there were no clunky changes of pace or missteps. It had an assuredness that kept your attention as well as taking you through the modern hell that is appraisal and being different but not enough to be part of a group.

This was an exercise in bringing student actors into a new script, thanks to Playwright’s Studio Scotland, and this was a further strength to the whole enterprise. As an ensemble, it had moments of humour and pathos subtly handled that ensured we had great empathy for Kate and were in the moment when she ended up, having given a part of her soul away, only for it to be handed back punctured.

Theatre arts were sparingly used with a great sense for not intruding into the narrative but especially the section with the life coach, using the live video feed showed an ability to integrate when and if felt necessary in an imaginative way.

Overall between Lynda Radley’s script, David Wood’s direction, the creativity of the production team and the acting onstage this was a great piece of social commentary that deserves a second run – I felt the energy tonight…