Theatre review: Save + Quit

Front, l-r,  Peter Mooney Niamh Branigan and Eddie Robinson
Back l-r Billie De Buitlear, Sophia Leuner and Josie Charles.

Front, l-r, Peter Mooney Niamh Branigan and Eddie Robinson Back l-r Billie De Buitlear, Sophia Leuner and Josie Charles.

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Young people finding their way in the contrasting cities of London and Dublin forms the meat of Sophia Launer’s beautifully observed two-part play.

Star rating: ****
Venue: Assembly George Square Studios (Venue 17)

Winner of the Best Play at the London Student Drama Festival in 2015, it’s brought to the Fringe by Hairpin Productions in a pared down, no-frills production which foregrounds the words.

Joe (Eddie Joe Robinson) sounds like a bit of a lad-about-London, but soon reveals a deeper side: he needs to get rid of the Xbox which formed a key element of his relationship with his dad, and with that, the memories he has been holding on to. Steph (Josie Charles) is a teacher at a comprehensive who is helping the family of one of her pupils, and might just be looking for a games console.

Meanwhile, in Dublin, Cara (Niamh Branigan) and Dylan (Peter Mooney) have an almost-romance, but can it bridge the gap in their social backgrounds? And will the death of Cara’s beloved grandfather provide a brief possibility of reunion?

A quartet of strong performances bring Launer’s perfectly pitched characters to life. Revealing information gradually, she creates four fully realised lives with the faults and contradictions of real people: selfish yet compassionate, idealistic but lonely, young adults beginning to realise more about themselves. She shows us just enough of the others in their lives to sketch in the details we need to understand them.

And behind the characters are the infinite worlds of two cities, of transport systems and traffic jams, recession and regeneration, making ends meet and trying to make friends, a sense of the loneliness of city life, and of the fragile, vivid opportunities it provides for connection with others.

Until 29 August. Today 12:15pm.

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