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What Goes Up
Published on Wednesday, 24 August 2011

2 stars

C venues - C soco (venue website)
3-14, 16-29 Aug, 10:45pm-11:45pm
Reviewed by Alice de Cent

 Recommended for age 12+ only.

A single mum, her teenage son and “male friend” head to Wales for a camping trip – which throws torrential rain, teenage romance and family secrets at them in rapid succession.  What Goes Up explores their complex relationships, with a few laughs along the way.

Richard O’Brien’s script is nicely paced, and balances comedy with the odd poignant moment. The language is well-developed in the lighter moments, but it misses the mark at points requiring more extreme emotions, where it doesn’t ring as true. With a number of secrets, and much going unsaid, the audience’s anticipation is built up well. When the revelations finally come, however, it might be wise to aim for a little more clarity in the script; too much is left unresolved.

The young cast work well as an ensemble and do an admirable job of playing outside of their years. The characterisations are enjoyable, if rather stereotypical, and although they are most at home in the comedic scenes, there are a couple of touching moments as the story develops. The performances are enthusiastic, but the characters need to be more well-rounded to truly master the more demanding emotional scenes, and could do with a more precise emotional journey – at the moment, the performances tend to stay at the same general level.

The design creates the world of the campsite well; the tent that goes up in the first scene, and as the title suggests, has to come down in the closing moments, is a nice visual touch. It is used well throughout, and handled effortlessly by the actors.

What Goes Up is a show with a lot of potential – the story is touching and provides some good comic possibilities. There is work to be done in the second half, when the plot takes a more dangerous turn, but the play shows an undeniable amount of promise.

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