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Catching Comets review at Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh – ‘smart action-movie spoof’

Ali Michael in Catching Comets at Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh. Photo: Sophie Giddens
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Amusingly pitched as “a disaster movie about falling in love”, this new show from writer and director Piers Black ties two separate narratives of masculinity together.

An ordinary young man named Toby begins an everyday romance with a woman named Forest Green. Meanwhile, in his head, he single-handedly saves the world from the mass annihilation threatened by an onrushing comet.

The box-like set is somewhat over-elaborate, and seems designed mainly to hoist an inflatable globe and comet above actor Ali Michael’s head.

But a certain audience will find the concept of this show incredibly well-pitched. Namely, those members of any generation young enough to have spent formative years watching the ludicrously brash action films of the 1980s, including Die Hard and the Rambo adventures.

A level of investment in these films is probably necessary to observe just what a good job Michael does in spoofing them amid the sweat-soaked, slow-motion action sequences, which repeat these films’ questionable message that no problem is too big that it can’t be punched or shot.

In ‘real-life’, therefore, as the sweet love story unfolds but Toby struggles to find the courage to make an emotional commitment, the two halves of the play form a greater overriding theme.

That is, about the inadequacy of lessons taught to young men that physical invulnerability is somehow more important than gaining emotional self-knowledge.

The Accident Did Not Take Place review at the Pleasance, Edinburgh – ‘clever questioning of truth’

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Love story meets disaster movie comedy in a smart play that questions the way young men are taught to view themselves