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Unconditional review at Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh – ‘charm in abundance’

Josie Dale-Jones and Stefanie Mueller in Unconditional at Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh. Photo: Lidia Crisafulli Josie Dale-Jones and Stefanie Mueller in Unconditional at Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh. Photo: Lidia Crisafulli

In Unconditional real-life mother and daughter Stefanie Mueller and Josie Dale-Jones play a mother and daughter putting on a show together. The world in which they’re putting on their show is increasingly unstable. It is a world with monsters in it; it’s basically a “total shit-storm” as they keep telling us as well as each other.

This storytelling show sees them weaving together an increasingly fantastical narrative involving rainstorms and a world on the verge of collapse; by the end there will be death but also birth.

Both performers are warm, funny and generous, their movements precise and their energy considerable. There’s a sense of playfulness to the show that’s hard to resist even though structurally it’s a little fuzzy at times.

They’re both entertaining comic performers – whether it’s Josie pretending to be a tiny child too short to reach the microphone, or Stefanie waddling like penguin – and the nature of their relationship, the threads that connect them, in a gentle understated way, become vital to the tone of the piece.

Some beats of the storytelling could be more clearly defined, but Unconditional has charm in abundance, and while not overtly political, it feels like a balm.

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Charming, surreal storytelling show created and performed by a real-life mother and daughter