FringeReview Scotland 2019
Two young people, aged 19, are very much in love. When they discover that THEY are pregnant, the cracks begin to appear as the unspoken about gets spoken about and the unthinkable becomes thought. That thought is not collectively agreed between them and she, wishing to terminate, is convinced to continue with the full pregnancy. It ends with that rumbling of discontent becoming a thunder of continual argument before one has to go, just who is the twist on this tale.
Lucy and Jordan are a naïve and youthful couple. They have the hopes and dreams of many young couples, but they are terribly young. When Lucy discovers she is pregnant, it is a shock to their bubble of love and understanding. Jordan is all “our baby” whilst Lucy wants to preserve her body, her hopes, and her aspirations. It’s a dilemma much plumbed of clichés by soaps but here it gets a much more mature treatment.
Using an episodic structure that flashes forwards and back, with one dream sequence that was a bit of a surprise to everyone apart from the audience member who shouted, “I knew it” this could have ended up being yet another immature musing on the nature of being young; it certainly wasn’t.
It needed a light touch and robust script and it got that. The performances were strong with both Emma Findlay and Mark McMinn playing Lucy and Jordan with enough sensitivity to make the flashes here, there and everywhere, believable. The relationship onstage was strong, and they gave to each other the space and support to see formed characters built for the story.
They were, however, a little implausibly 19 – Jordan maybe a little more so than Lucy. The script did not exploit the age of each, thankfully, though Lucy and Jordan could have been a little older and not have ended up causing disbelief.
Apart from that the script, by Emma herself, was strong contender for needing another run. It treated each of the issues with a touch that showed sensitivity but shied away from nothing. The biggest strength was the ability to show enough of the narrative in each short scene and connect them by words, phrases and sentiment that held the entire piece beautifully together. It was impressive stuff.
The direction, by Mairi Davidson was also impressive. It kept the pace and the revelations at the right points giving us the audience enough of a breather to understand what was going on whilst there was enough of an intrigue that when it surprised, it truly did – the pronouncement from the body of the hall being an example – almost Milleresque – of how effective this collective had been.
The use of the llghts and music was spot on, though the venue was a challenge. It is easy to be hard on any venue that is a pub and not traditionally where theatre is performed but why not? As a veteran of the Fringe I am well used to odd places where I can hear the chips frying and the wait staff in and out of swing doors, so this was a decent training exercise for me. The audience itself seemed to be coping without any problems but the fact that they found a stage in the city of G12, arches, Ramshorn shut downs is to be admired: in fact, shouted from the roof tops. The space was almost full on a Thursday night; that cannot be shouted loudly enough either.
The only negative was sight lines and the further back you went, the more you missed. It’s not fair to blame the company in a city where there are few choices to begin but perhaps the staging could have been different and taken away from the “traditional” end on into the body of the audience. It would have been something, which I think, the company could cope with admirably.
This young company are impressive. The first outing should, I hope lead to many more as this demonstrated the ability and skill behind an idea. I have not given away the surprise and I have to say that, it was a surprising end: it was signposted throughout, though. I think you just think that “natural” roles are ones that should be embraced and when they are not, you sigh and then realise that it is these expectations that have stifled people for so long – this should, ironically, be a liberation for this troupe to create more through further freedom.