Theatre review: The Soft Subject (A Love Story)

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Our genial host Chris Woodley taught drama – “the soft subject” they say – before going back into acting, so this autobiographical play is structured like a drama lesson; intro, starter, main task, evaluation, etc, with signposted dramatic techniques throughout.

Assembly Hall (Venue 35)


Notepads out if you want to know more about hotseating, montage, symbolic props and the like.

But there’s no disguising that this is Woodley’s personal story of love and heartbreak with cute theatrical devices. How much we care is entirely down to Woodley’s personable style. There were lots of understanding “aws” from the audience I was in, as if we were listening to a guest tell their travails on This Morning. Stage direction: sympathetic nodding.

Ironically, there is no big drama – he met a man online, fell in love, moved in and was dumped over the space of a number of years – but there is no doubt from Woodley’s cheery account that he felt the loss deeply. He put on an act for his pupils (and now, to a degree, for us) but dropped the façade for his family who ultimately helped him to succeed in his main task: to live happily ever after.

Until 28 August. Today 4:25pm.