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'Asides from the Elbow': The highs & lows of young adulthood

Samantha Cook reviews for Lippy...

A story revolving the intense highs and lows of young adulthood, ‘Asides from the Elbow’ (performed in The Packhorse on the 31st of July) was a heartbreaking yet intensely comedic performance, written and directed by Rebecca Harrison.

Framed perfectly by drunken stumbles up Packhorse’s stairs and eruptions of laughter naturally interrupting moments of speech, I couldn’t have thought of a better stage. Although the lack of physical depth meant that occasionally the show seems somewhat static, the actors made good use of this ‘smoking area’ from the Elbows pub – where the entirety of the 50-minute show was set. Huge credit to both Producers Olivia Taylor-Goy and Megan Ferguson for picking such a perfect venue. Starting on a speech by two housemates, in the smoking area of their favourite pub, Perry and Joy (played by both perfectly suited actors Carrie Clarke and Lucy Yellow) discuss feminist philosophy. Immediately, both of their main personality traits emerge. Joy is an anxious MA student, with perhaps some underlying God-complex aspects sprinkled in and about. Perry is a happy-go-lucky street-wise individual, comic in her free time, and dating a mutual friend of all, James. The directing by Harrison and AD Ellie Mullins here is fabulous, use of a bench took the whole audience into a pin point moment that most university students have experienced. Whether outside clubs, bars or pubs, the premise and execution of this performance is unnervingly relatable. Further in, we meet Sam (Charlie Crozier), a slightly older, especially noticeable in his dress sense, graduate whom both Joy and Perry live with. The occasional gossip mixed in with suggestive and romantic looks shared by Joy and Sam reach a peak when they being to implicitly explain to the audience how it is they know Sam. The writing of this show was like no other. It left me cackling, tears pricking at my eyes and everything in between. It was bouncy and musical in parts, began with a nervous swan-song monologue from Joy regarding the role of men in and around romantic heterosexual relationships, with some slight hints of comedic semi-misandry. Matty Edgar played a fantastic role in the passive nature of men when it comes to friendship, and the writing highlighted a specific separation to the differences between men and women of the same age with their reaction to immorality. A child compared to his female peers, Chris (Matty Edgar) wears loose fitting band t-shirts, has a suitably big ego and refuses to understand where it is he went wrong. The embodiment of a very specific type of man I’m sure all of us have met at one point or another. My only qualm with the writing would be that at points the jokes didn’t perhaps land as they may have done ten or twenty years ago, or maybe it was the audience of very actively liberal university students. For example an ongoing ‘joke’ about having cash but refusing to donate to desperate people, or unwarned mentions of sexual assault, I’m sure that with a couple of pints and some slight last minute editing this show would be an inclusively universal catch. Overall, ‘Asides from the Elbows’ is a fabulously written piece of comedy, with the odd heart-wrenching moments dotted skillfully. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to be a recent graduate watching this show, the mix of nostalgia and connection I felt as someone just starting their journey into early adulthood was overwhelming enough as is. I wish LS6 Theatre the best of luck for their time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

You can buy tickets here for their performances in the Perth Theatre from the 5th to the 14th of August.


Words: Samantha Cook

Photo credit: Abby Swain (@abbyswainphotography on Instagram)

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