Theatre review: One Life Stand, Roundabout @ Summerhall

One Life Stand is hugely evocative. Picture: Wullie Marr Photography
One Life Stand is hugely evocative. Picture: Wullie Marr Photography
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This year’s Fringe surely bears few more evocative reflections of life as a British twentysomething in 2018 than playwright Eve Nicol’s One Life Stand, produced by Hull-based company Middle Child. Set over one rainy night in the city, it plots the points between three souls who are varying degrees of lost, but so close to being found.

One Life Stand, Roundabout @ Summerhall (Venue 26) ****

Kat is a career woman whose lowly point on the ladder has her still travelling on buses, not taxis, and whose sexual frustration manifests in picking up a lover on the internet; her boyfriend Kit is a fast food delivery cyclist with a puppyish manner and a borderline unhealthy internet porn obsession; and MoMo, the teenage girl who interacts with both at some point, is bullied and sexually harassed by the boys at her school since an explicit film of her having sex with a teacher was shared around, even though what she feels about the clip is closer to empowerment than shame.

This is a quirky romantic(ish) comedy life lived in two separate dimensions; one, the real world, richly described in the rainy gutter where Kit is beaten after crashing into someone on the street or the sheltered space between the bins where he and Momo share a fish supper; the other, the online fantasy where all three get to be their best, most sexual, most desirable selves. The trio of actors involved – Tanya Loretta Dee (Kat), Ed Cole (Kit) and Anna Mitchelson (MoMo) – pace the stage with hand-held microphones, the only props aside from Kit’s racing bike, and there’s a raw, gig-like urgency to their delivery.

What’s going on musically is also embedded in and hugely important to the show, with what amount to two parallel soundtracks – by James Frewer and Glaswegian band Honeyblood – giving a rich flavour of the overwhelming cultural torrent available online. When Kit sends Kat yet another cute puppy gif, a splurge of electronic noise pumps through the room, and when an emotional high-note is hit, the trio harmonise on choruses bordering on musical theatre. A cautionary tale of our need to get to grips with the way mass connection is remoulding us, its message is needed.

• Until 26 August, 9:45pm