Theatre review: A Table Tennis Play, Underbelly - Cowgate, Edinburgh

In the basement beneath her childhood home, Cath (Rosa Robson) clears out her family effects while Mia (Beth Holmes) – the teenage child of the house’s new occupants – at first interlopes, and then builds up an emotional rapport with these unfamiliar adults; Cath’s partner Callum (Euan Kitson) is also here.

A Table Tennis Play, Underbelly - Cowgate (Venue 61)

A Table Tennis Play, Underbelly - Cowgate, Edinburgh * * *

Oddly, Cath knows her own age down to the exact moment, as a result of maintaining an internal countdown to the age of her mother’s tragically early death. Through the metaphor of a game of table tennis which Cath keeps trying to entice Beth into, to the denials of the superstitious young tennis prodigy – we feel the onset of age, or perhaps just the resistance of the individual as their ambition wanes, closing off opportunity and aspiration.

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All the Scotsman critics' 5-star reviews from the Edinburgh Festivals so far

Walrus, the production team behind this quirky play about grief and generational difference, have an undeniably substantial amount to live up to, given that they previously created 2015’s much-performed Fringe hit Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons. While A Table Tennis Play reunites the same creative principles in playwright Sam Steiner and director Ed Madden, and its calm, intricate creation of mood and emotion makes for a satisfying experience, it feels somehow light and whimsical, rather than a play with substantial things to say.

Until 25 August

David Pollock