EDINBURGH | GLASGOW | ABERDEEN | INVERNESS | DUNDEE | PERTH

UNCONDITIONAL

at Pleasance Courtyard

* * * - -

An example of great story-telling and how energy can bring an unconventional narrative to life.

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Mother and daughter duo Josie and Steffi lead the audience on an entertaining ride through vivid story-telling and energetic acting that is very much endearing and thought-provoking. The narrative is interesting and eccentric, at some points recognisable and realistic (such as the frustrations around cancelled trains and missing Ubers), and at other times bizarre and hilarious (with descriptions of a war breaking out in a theatre). This blend of outlandish and mundane is jarring, but utterly enjoyable. Surrendering to the story and being taken on the ride is what is truly enjoyable about this performance.

The plot is based around the journey of creating a show and the chaos that ensues around this. With this main spectacle never taking place, there is never a trace of rambling or a loss of momentum. The unconventional route the story takes is a refreshing twist on the classic theatre trope of a play where everything goes wrong.

There is a real depth of character. The dynamics of the mother-daughter relationship are endearing, heart-warming and humorous. The high level of energy is maintained throughout and the dialogue is witty and profound. At some points lines are lost, repeated or cut off as the two talk over one another. This damages the pacing of the show and diminishes the flow, but these moments are infrequent and are recovered from quickly.

The themes are clearly recognisable with Brexit, Trump and ecological issues all being brought up, but the way they are enacted and woven into the story is subtle and clever. The main performers watch as their show is overrun, and this is a fascinating and unique look into the multitude of confusing and battling issues in the modern world. The other plot points are somewhat less effective, namely the modern fairy-tale where the mother and daughter go to battle a great monster. The concept is interesting but it is not given enough time to really develop and feels abrupt and ineffective.

Unconditional is an example of great story-telling and how energy and acting can bring an unconventional narrative to life, with only a few small issues with dialogue and plot being a drawback.