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  • Writer's pictureZoë Combe

The End of the Line 3 *(Edinburgh Fringe Review)

The Space @ Symposium Hall - Garden Theatre. 12:15pm

Aireborne Theatre

Know before you go: t.w. eating disorder and depression.

Two strangers exchange stories from their pasts in this coming-of-age play that leads its audience through the disillusionment of early adulthood. The first was that of a young banker overwhelmed by the big city, trapped on a one-way commuter train in a career path in which he no longer found joy. The other was the story of a girl whose life had been ripped away from her in the unforgiving claws of an eating disorder.

"A heart-warming testament to the beauty of coincidence and chance encounter."

An abundance of train metaphors came to mind throughout the performance and the symbolism could not possibly have been missed as the whole story unfolded on the train platform, whilst the characters were waiting for the ever-unreliable westbound District line. Knowing the nature of the capital’s transport system as I do, it was slightly difficult to believe that two strangers could have an amicable 50-minute conversation in a tube station without it being either under intoxication or violent. However, despite this initial disbelief, investing in their stories was aided by fast-paced flashbacks that constructed a context and familiarity with the characters that made the train platform much more tolerable.

(Love in the Time of Lockdown - Aireborne Theatre)

"Fast-paced flashbacks constructed a context and familiarity with the characters."

The sunken loneliness of both characters was engaged with competently and dynamically by the actors despite the inevitable backing track of wind and Edinburgh traffic. They tackled some difficult topics however their ability to access the trauma and pain of their situations was limited slightly by the writing that, while it contained poetic imagery at times, felt a little uninspired at others. This performance had the potential to be really universal given its subject matter, but I was left needing slightly more to truly empathise with the characters. After all, how sorry can you feel for a guy working for J.P. Morgan who 1. bypassed the rigorous application process and 2. got a promotion during the play for a reason that was by no means apparent?

Despite this, The End of the Line was a heart-warming testament to the beauty of coincidence and chance encounter, and the characters parted ways with a newfound perspective on their own hardships.

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