Continuous Growth is a saga spanning the lifetime of Scottish everyman Andy: from falling in love in Year 4; through university; an unnecessary shotgun wedding; economic boom and bust; to falling in love again on a beach in Thailand. It appeared to define its plot by authority of the game Consequences, in which each participant writes a name, job title, action, place, et cetera on pieces of paper that are circulated around, creating hilariously scrambled stories that make very little sense, such as: ‘Nick Clegg the magician goes to the hairdresser to buy some tropical fish’. Continuous Growth seemed to unfold with about as much logic and coherence.
Andy was fairly sympathetic if a little simple and emotionally sterile, with an astonishing lack of interest in his children, who were conveniently absent for plot purposes for most of the play. This is perhaps fair enough, as I think infanticide would have been justifiable for both the ten-year-old ADHD wannabe rapper and the Hello Kitty obsessive; I know I wanted to strangle them both. The wife wasn’t much better: having married Andy due to a phantom pregnancy (by another man), she leaves him decades later for the same man to set up a hippy yoga retreat. The one moment that is supposed to endear her to the audience is the sharing of eye contact with a fox, which is subsequently flattened by the shiny bonnet of Andy’s bank manager’s Mercedes-Benz. Deep.
I was possibly most upset by the truly terrible wigs in the production, of which they seemed to have an unlimited supply. None looked convincing, fit well, or were in shades consistent with natural hair follicles. With the constant doubling up of roles, I understand the need for differentiation. However they should have relied on acting talent and characterisation, as opposed to distracting wigs.
Andy and his childhood love declare their affection for each other by sharing the last Rolo of the pack, a gesture as sickly as the chocolate. The idea seemed incredibly hackneyed and sentimental, and was made even more ridiculous by how seriously the moment is taken. Purely for the appropriation of a candy advertisement in place of genuine emotion – avoid.