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Loop review at Underbelly Cowgate, Edinburgh – ‘a razor-sharp script and four great performances’

Emily Costello in Boxless Theatre's Loop Emily Costello in Boxless Theatre's Loop
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Although Boxless makes physical theatre, the strongest moments in this piece about the impact of music on different generations come from the script and the performances more than the movement.

The show looks at three generations: in 1965 a woman leaves home and moves to Manchester. When she says they’re on a bus, the other three cast members bob up and down to show they’re on a bus. When she says they’re smoking, they all pretend to smoke. There’s a nice percussive quality to these bits as the ensemble finds rhythms in daily life, but they’re not the most inventive moments.

Then the show completely opens up when dialogue between the woman’s daughter Flo (Emily Costello) and Dan (Aaron Price) starts.

They meet, they fall in love, they argue about music. The physical element recedes, and they deliver their tightly scripted lines in a sharp, swift back-and-forth, like a cleverly condensed romcom.

Then their son takes over for the third generation narrative, bringing the piece up to the present day, and that third section is equally good. The snappy dialogue continues and the piece cements the idea of different kinds of adolescence in different eras, the different opportunities and options.

The earlier bits are less strong, but there’s a huge amount of real excellence here. from Alexander Knott’s razor-sharp script to four great performances.

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Strongly scripted physical theatre show about the impact of music on different generations