Note: This review is from the 2015 Fringe

@theSpace on Niddry St, Edinburgh, until Sat 29 Aug 2015 @ 20:25

After a successful run at Bristol’s Alma Tavern, young student company Popcorn Productions bring to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Submarine, the first stage adaptation of Joe Dunthorne’s novel and Richard Ayoade’s film of the same name. But does the mise en scène meet the audiences expectations of this indie tale? With three directors Lucy Mann, Olivia Marcus and Bethany West, surely they can compete.

Welsh teenager Oliver Tate is trying to save his parents marriage, whilst having relationship troubles with his first girlfriend Jordana, but where will his priorities lie?

The quirky protagonist played by Jonas Moore is very different to Craig Roberts‘ screen version but awkwardly sweet and and keeps the audience charmed in a perfect representation of loneliness in adolescence. Typical of a coming of age story, there is a balance of light and dark elements. The piece manages to be offbeat and funny, with a lot of one liners, but thought provoking at the same time in its exploration of serious issues. The contrast of personalities is comedic, between Oliver and his bashful girlfriend Jordana (Rachael Kelly) and between his dad (Josh Hunter) and ninja neighbour Graham (Tom Titherington). Amongst a strong cast, Hunter stands out as the down-in-the-dumps dad and his melancholy experience of adulthood is juxtaposed against the awkward humour reminiscent of teenage years.

An impressive set design by Mae-Li Evans which consists of very few props and contorting wooden pallets that change the scene and act as a bed, door and coat hanger. They haven’t used the film’s soundtrack from Alex Turner. However, there is a mixture of classic and original music from Harrison Davies, Ollie Deans and Island. The use of projection enhances the story and we are reminded of the qualities of the acclaimed film, without being too copycat.