This article is from 2008.


New writing explores themes of love and stoicism

The spirit of adventure brought to the Fringe by the Underbelly has always been about new work, but this year’s programme seems to lean, more than ever, towards new writing, above and beyond the usual array of physical and visual theatre. Notable among the talents on display are those of Declan Feenan and Clara Brennan, whose work appears in not so much a double bill as two separate plays telling the same story.

‘Lough came to us after the last Edinburgh Festival,’ says producer Anna Bewick. ‘Declan Feenan wrote a very short play which showed this young couple in an everyday situation. It was quite beautiful, and we happened to show it to Clara Brennan, another young writer we’ve been bringing on. She wrote a quite separate piece, almost in response to Lough, and when we saw them together we realised that we could do the two plays as one story, bringing the same couple forward to another phase of life.’

The piece speaks of the deep emotional meaning of everyday gestures in relationships, and imposes a catastrophe on its fictional central couple to explore themes of love and stoicism. ‘We start off with an ordinary couple,’ says Bewick. ‘The short play that Declan wrote has them eating breakfast, doing very ordinary things together. There’s enough there, though, even in the way that one character eats the last piece of cheese that the other wanted, to show something very shared. Later, he has an accident, and sustains a brain injury, this affects his memory, and he’s brought into professional care. The rest of the piece shows flashbacks, as well as how his injury affects them, in a series of visits to his care home. Things can’t be the same between them after the accident, but the piece shows a journey to acceptance of the situation.’

Expect a tear-jerking show from two of the most hotly tipped writers on this year’s Fringe.

Underbelly, 0844 545 8252, 2–24 Aug (not 12), 1pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7.50–£8.50). Previews 31 Jul & 1 Aug, £6.


  • 3 stars

A quietly tragic relationship co-authored by Declan Feenan and Clara Brennan. 'Part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe'

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