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  • Writer's pictureZoë Combe

Catching Up 5* (Edinburgh Fringe Review)

The Space - Symposium Hall - Main Theatre. 5:25pm

Theatre Paradok

Catching Up is a thought-provoking study of trauma and its year-spanning, rippling effects. We follow the story of three friends, Lemon, Sean and Lily, in their teenage years, sneaking out to drink in parks in all the blissful excitement of early adulthood. A parallel timeline takes place on the other side of the stage, that of Lemon and Sean later on in life, estranged but attempting to reignite the flame of friendship through writing a screenplay together at a countryside retreat.

Despite the chronological difference, the plotlines interweave and begin to raise questions about what happened in between these two periods that has led to such a jarring divide between the older characters, and as the young characters and the old characters watched each other’s respective scenes in anxious anticipation, we are shown the extent to which our pasts can resurface even years later.

"A thought-provoking study of trauma and its year-spanning, rippling effects."

This is a play about that which is not seen or said and is cleverly written to convey the hushed-up nature of abuse. It demands intelligent and sensitive engagement from its audience to appreciate the covert and subtle ways in which past traumas infect our present lives. Stylised writing was well portrayed through perfectly matched direction from Isabella Forshaw, who wisely chose to portray these life-changing events through a sequence of physical theatre. This was a choice which I feel respects the impossibility of a realistic representation of abuse on stage. Furthermore, it emphasises the way that a single event can play on repeat in the minds of those who it affects to the point where it acquires a much more significant meaning to them than what lies on the surface.

(Catching Up - Theatre Paradok)

The actors did extremely well, especially given the shortness of space on stage, and demonstrated versatile and profound engagement with their characters. Sean’s (Leo Shaw) egotistical humour, initially funny, came to be repulsive as we pieced together what sort of person he really was and Lemon’s (Lizzie Martin) sustained and growing discomfort as the story progressed was palpable. Particularly striking was the contrast between this and Sean’s apparent light-heartedness, which emphasised the diverse ways that abuse affects, or doesn’t affect, the different parties involved.

"The actors demonstrated versatile and profound engagement with their characters."

This performance tackles an extremely sensitive subject with confidence and respect and creates a space for its audience to reflect on how all-encompassing and destructive trauma can be.

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