Theatre review: Out of Love

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Spanning 30 years, this pocket epic tracks the intertwined stories of two female best friends growing up in the north of England, the chaotically confident Grace and the more balanced, cautious Lorna.

Roundabout @ Summerhall (Venue 26)

***

On the surface the latter appears to have it all, earning a place at university and blossoming into a busy media career woman, while Grace remains behind, a single mum who has never found time to have dreams, let alone realise them.

Yet both have problems stretching back to their fractured childhoods, and the strange network of anxiety and support which defines their relationship is hard for the pair or those around them to prise apart.

Part of this year’s Paines Plough programme at Roundabout, playwright Elinor Cook’s light-touch, naturalistic drama is a Fringe play to heartily recommend, buoyed by some excellent performances from this year’s Paines Plough ensemble; Sally Messham and Katy Elin-Salt are magnetic as the core duo, while Hasan Dixon is the procession of men who threaten to come between them or disrupt their friendship. There is a message of female solidarity at the play’s core, as well as a measure of discussion on class and mental health around that, and only an over-busy time-
hopping narrative which jumbles the finale somewhat detracts from what’s otherwise a strong play.