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Edinburgh Fringe 2022


Tom Foreman Productions

Genre: New Writing, Theatre

Venue: Underbelly, Cowgate - Belly Laugh


Low Down

Swell is a small town which is on a coastline which is relentlessly creeping towards it. As a consequence, the town has been notified that is shall be managed into oblivion over time as residents shall be withdrawn from the town by the middle of the century. We follow the stories of Ava, her brother Josh and her boyfriend Avi, who are young people living with the implications of this personal climate catastrophe. As Avi decides to leave, Josh and Ava discover they have stayed behind for each other, without communicating that, whilst a variety of other characters are affected by the climate emergency, and we end with Josh making a life changing decision which is not a positive one.


This has a lot of good material and works really well. By refusing to concentrate upon the possible events that have led to this or the effects or coastal erosion itself we see the personal, human cost of the tragedy. Coupled with this being a more honest appraisal of how people react rather than what protest they go on, what we get is a more engaging drama. It is a clever way of framing conversation rather than dramatically having to add another and yet another crisis to retain an audience’s interest: the event itself is dramatic enough.

Oh and this is really happening to Fairbourne.

The direction was on point for the piece and the use of the whole space is effective. The soundscape works and despite the lack of set the use of various scenes was effectively managed.

All three of our youthful actors managed a variety of characters between them but it meant that switching between each character became more of a focus than the depth of the supporting cast. Other characters became more caricature than fully rounded and the depth we would require to truly engage with them was sacrificed. It also meant that the subtleties between the three principal characters could be a little lost. It is a real compromise to bring a show to the Fringe and these actors have the ability to delve deeper. At times you could really see that – especially when Ava is, at the end, dealing with what Josh has done. It augurs well though the story needed more variety or more offstage drama rather than onstage switches.

This is a very good piece of drama, and it is always comforting to see this type of contribution to the Fringe. It’s a decent story and take on the real life events which brings the focus of the climate emergency into the personal realm which is nothing but a very good thing