theSpace @ Niddry Street, Dir. Aimée Buchanan, 2nd-17th August
This year’s Fringe show from STaG follows two sisters, determined to scatter their Gran’s ashes in Arran, who are chased by their parents as well as a police inspector and a work experience boy. This set-up allowed for different dynamics between the pairs: Ian (Martin McHard) and Diane (Natasha Duffy), though recently divorced, are forced together to find their children; the unwilling Inspector Galloway (Flora Robson) on the first day of the job ends up teaming up with the seemingly useless and greasy Ronnie (Calum Ross). Yet my favourite pair was the two sisters, with Liz (Beth Leishman) as a 17 year old ‘too cool for school’, and Brooke (Audrey Roberts Laverty) as an extremely earnest 13 year old. They argue and tease each other, yet it is clear they deeply care for one other in the way only sisters can: Liz largely agrees to the over eight hour journey to Arran because her sister wants it.
The play is extremely hilarious and, although it borders on cliché at times, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The ending manages to navigate the line between comedy and grief well when, finally reunited, the family are able to scatter the ashes and they share a humorous yet heartfelt toast to their Gran. It feels as if the whole play was leading up to this moment, both emotionally and physically with the blocks on stage slowly being built to resemble Goat Fell. Yet the moment leaves the Inspector and Ronnie as little more than side characters whose presence at times feels pointless and adding little to the overall plot. This is most true when, as the play comes to an end, an unnecessary romantic plot point comes to light in order to make their presence in Arran more relevant.
The direction is enjoyable, not lingering on one pair for too long and so allows for a fast paced, and at times chaotic, show. If you’re looking for a comedic romp, Trips and Falls delivers, and it delivers well. It’s fresh and funny, and certainly well worth a watch. And judging by the full theatre, many others thought so too.
[Eleanor Fletcher – she/her – @eleanorlf_]
[Photo credit: Student Theatre at Glasgow]
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