Theatre review: Snowflake by Mark Thomson

Snowflake, in the case of this production, is not a prejorative term. Picture: Robin Mitchell
Snowflake, in the case of this production, is not a prejorative term. Picture: Robin Mitchell
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Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Jax is hurtling towards her 21st birthday. (Sorry to be distracted, I was just checking Twitter.) She’s working on her dissertation and can hear her textbooks calling. (Did you see that thing Donald Trump said?)

Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)

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And while eyeing up the guy who says he’s a stand-up comedian, she’s keeping track of her friends with their various insecurities and family problems. (I’ll be with you in a sec – just updating my Facebook profile.)

It isn’t only that her mum has run off with a man from Seville. (We really should be saving the whale.) And it isn’t just that her toaster’s on the blink. (There is a great new series on Netflix.) It’s also that the sheer weight of information overload (swipe right on Tinder) is making it harder and harder (what can we do about Brexit?) for her to do anything other than panic.

And the result in Mark Thomson’s powerful production of his own play for the Network, a new company of recent Scottish graduates, is a fractured nightmare in which the adolescent adrenaline rush of sex, drugs and dancefloor beats is mixed into a cocktail of pressures created by the always-on digital age and a Baby Boomer generation with a death wish. Cue reckless behaviour, self-harm and dropping out.

Holding this chaotic collage together is Shyvonne Ahmmad, whose focus and conviction capture the verve and humour of a sociable young woman coupled with the terror of someone under extreme mental attack. She is given confident support by the eight-strong ensemble who, in their turn, play characters suffering similar levels of insecurity cultivated by the distorting images of the online world.

Until now we’ve talked of “generation snowflake” in reference to those too quick to claim offence; here’s a play suggesting they’re not so much oversensitive as over-abused.

Until 28 August. Today 1pm.