The Soft Subject (A Love Story) (3 stars)

The Soft Subject (A Love Story)

Lessons in love from a former school teacher

The Soft Subject is billed as a love story, but who the lovers are isn't quite as clear as it might seem. This autobiographical one-man show by former high school drama teacher Chris Woodley tracks a blossoming relationship with his partner Kevin.

Woodley is keen to bring his background as a teacher into his performance, and structures the show in the style of a lesson plan. His love for his craft, both as an educator and a performer, is obvious from the start. He's an instantly likeable man who wants the audience to learn the lessons he has to teach.

Though Woodley's tale has tragedy, he is also keen to ensure there is laughter. His sense of humour is occasionally self-deprecating and always self-aware. Crucially though, it's a consistently gentle humour, never mean spirited. Even when he is the butt of his own joke, there's a warmth that permeates his performance.

Woodley's tale is deeply personal. As such, a few storytelling blips in the latter half of the hour obscure the audience's understanding, leaving us – like a struggling pupil – fighting to catch up, before his confidence and passion for energetic 90s pop sends us home with contented smiles.

Assembly Hall, until 28 Aug (not 15), 4.25 pm, £14.50–£15.50 (£13.50–£14.50).

The Soft Subject (A Love Story)

  • 3 stars

Take a trip back to school with Chris Woodley's educational show about loss, survival and Brazil nuts.

Assembly Hall, Edinburgh

Thu 17 Aug

Baillie Room

£9 (£8) / 0130 623 3030

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Fri 18 Aug

Baillie Room

£11 (£10) / 0130 623 3030

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Sat 19 Aug

Baillie Room

£11 (£10) / 0130 623 3030

Part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

…and 9 more dates until 28 Aug

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