The Future for Beginners
Twee take on first world problems at Edinburgh Festival Fringe
This article is from 2014.
Contemporary experimental theatre in the UK tends towards extremes. Either brutally challenging or charmingly twee, it breaks the traditional format only to struggle to find something new.
The Future for Beginners, despite a bracing premise – a couple try to future proof their love by planning every detail in advance – is in the twee category. The chase for the perfect relationship is hampered by circumstances beyond their control, they play ukuleles, they peer into the future, fail, try again, to fail better.
The message is clear and delivered with some wit (it is impossible to avoid changes), and the decision to have the woman sing in an operatic style adds a romance – and hints at a certain tension in her relationship with her data obsessed husband-to-be – but never really develops the idea. Eventually, the couple are stuck in a cycle of constant planning, but the dry tone never explains whether this is a positive or negative finale. While there is charm in the script and two fine central performances, the steady pace and simplistic choreography interludes never allow the performance to take flight.
Summerhall 560 1581, until 25 Aug (not 19), 3.40pm, £10 (£8).