ALL WE EVER WANTED WAS EVERYTHING – #EdFringe

In Edinburgh Festival, Festivals, Opinion, Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews, Scotland by Laura KresslyLeave a Comment

1987. Hull. Two couples in the same hospital each have a child. Leah is born to a working-class family and Chris into a middle class one. As they grow up, their lives are shaped by world events, social class and their parents’ income and ambition. 

Neither leads a particularly notable life, but it’s their millennial everyman-ness that Luke Barnes celebrates. Middle Child sets their first thirty years to a rock anthem soundtrack with a David Bowie-esque narrator, elevating the everyday to the extraordinary in a guitar-fuelled, sweaty, cathartic gig of a show.

We see Leah, Chris and their families every ten years, with music and costume that suitably adapts to each passing decade. This checking in effectively snapshots their lives and the choices that dictate their paths. But the dialogue-driven scenes are too short to foster much conflict between the characters. Barnes uses narration much more heavily; this diffuses most of the tension that builds within in the scenes but endows the show with the spirt of an epic poem.

Fortunately, the narration has a bold, uncompromising energy that, combined with the driving rock tunes, never lets the energy drop. Marc Graham wears all of his emotions on his bad boy, leather jacket sleeves as he tears about the stage and clambers through the audience. Rules don’t apply to him, and he has no regard for systems set up to limit people’s freedoms.

The overall effect is one of carefully exposed raw nerves, left to fight and fuck and fend for themselves in an unforgiving world. The personal shortcomings of Chris, Leah and their families both rallies and comforts the audience, reassuring us that most of us are failures and fuckups and that by just getting on with things the best we can, we are living our best lives.

All We Ever Wanted Was Everything runs through 27 August.

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Laura Kressly on RssLaura Kressly on Twitter
Laura Kressly
Laura is a US immigrant who has lived in the UK since 2004. Originally trained as an actor with a specialism in Shakespeare, she enjoyed many pre-recession years working as a performer, director and fringe theatre producer. When the going got too tough, she took a break to work in education as a support worker, then a secondary school drama teacher. To keep up with the theatrical world, she started reviewing for Everything Theatre and Remotegoat in 2013. In 2015, Laura started teaching part time in order to get back into theatre. She is now a freelance fringe theatre producer and runs her independent blog, theplaysthethinguk.com.
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Laura Kressly on RssLaura Kressly on Twitter
Laura Kressly
Laura is a US immigrant who has lived in the UK since 2004. Originally trained as an actor with a specialism in Shakespeare, she enjoyed many pre-recession years working as a performer, director and fringe theatre producer. When the going got too tough, she took a break to work in education as a support worker, then a secondary school drama teacher. To keep up with the theatrical world, she started reviewing for Everything Theatre and Remotegoat in 2013. In 2015, Laura started teaching part time in order to get back into theatre. She is now a freelance fringe theatre producer and runs her independent blog, theplaysthethinguk.com.

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