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This Way Up
Published on Tuesday, 21 August 2012
3

3 stars

C venues - C (venue website)
Theatre
1-13, 15-27 Aug, 2:40pm-3:40pm
Reviewed by Alice de Cent

 Family-friendly. Suitable for all ages.

This Way Up follows Alex, who fresh out of art school, takes a temporary job in a call centre – only to discover that it’s harder than she thought to make her mark. Helped and hindered by friends with identity crises, and a host of quirky colleagues, the show blends office humour, music, and cardboard space travel. 

The set makes highly inventive use of cardboard boxes, which run around on their own with the help of a sprightly crew of actors. The same actors also craft some great moments of physical comedy during the scene changes.

Live music from Nasi Voutsas and Richard Perryman between scenes adds an extra dimension to the piece. Playing from inside yet another cardboard box, the simple and witty songs about office life deserve to be given more space – as the physical antics that take place simultaneously leave the audience missing out on some of these charming elements.

And, succumbing to a common pitfall of devised work, the script often feels underdeveloped. The storyline is a little predictable, which is a shame considering the show’s inventive qualities. In my view, production company Antler could usefully tweak the plot in places, so it doesn’t always go quite where we expect it to. They should maybe take a closer look at the script as well, to ensure it matches the high standard of the visual work.

This Way Up is let down by its flimsy plot and unchallenging script, but Antler are clearly a playful and creative company, and This Way Up has much to love about it. The cast create a collection of humorous and loveable characters, who are easy to root for in this unashamed feel-good piece… and there are many laughs to be had along the way.

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These are archived reviews of shows from Edinburgh 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

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