Life is made up of small milestones but when it is all over, we are merely left with the physical things accumulated along the way and someone is going to have to clean up behind us.
Yellow Magpies are a young theatre company based in Edinburgh. Their devised piece Once This is All Over We Still Have to Clear Up, directed by Sarah Farrell, is a “remix” of a production from 2015 that has been updated for a wider audience. It portrays the significant events that are common within our lives and focuses on what makes the passing of time, from birth to death, so beautiful.
The three strong cast move through the set pieces fluidly. Whether it is singing an original song, playing for laughs or intense physical theatre, Euan Stamper, Carla Grant and Hannah Jarrett-Scott have the audience eating from their hands as they take us on a journey through teenage angst, buying a first home and beyond. They move around a simple yet effective set; balloons hang from the ceiling. With each balloon popped a different stage of life begins and glittery mess is left on the floor, a remnant of a distant memory.
It is evident that the piece has been designed to be accessible and non-traditional. The cast mingle as the audience filter into the auditorium and occasionally break character for a conversation throughout, actively encouraging audience participation in parts.
Once This is All Over… is slick and enjoyable despite its chilled out nature, though it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what message they are trying to relay. Enjoy life while it lasts? The cast are extremely talented all-rounders and there are genuine moments of laughter and gut wrenching sadness but, like life itself, the impact of the piece seems fleeting without something a bit deeper to cling to once the lights go out and they are left cleaning up the mess.