Charlotte goes back to Stuart who still lives in their once shared university flat to find him still taking care of the habitual mess made by their mutual friend David. The piece may seem at first a conventional evocation of this generation’s floundering twenty-somethings, but don’t let the pitch fool you – this play is a performance of staggering beauty, a tour-de-force of self-destructive urges in all its metaphoric intensity, and in all its endless desires.
Definitely one of the best shows about the millennial generation at this year’s Fringe.
The play does start on the slow side though, with monologues of incessant accusations by Stuart (Pierce Reid) who feels betrayed by Charlotte (Olivia Knowles) for abandoning him. She now writes for a prestigious magazine and owns an apartment in Mayfair. He, in turn, is a wreck, constantly blaming the older generation for the bleak outlook of his own life. And just as the show threatens to become monotonous in this vein, it is punctured by some funny and heartwarming memories that the two characters share after the hostility and tensions thaw.
Yet, this reconciliation is ethereal and only temporary. What happens next is entirely a surprise. Although the clues are already there, the truth is so monstrous that it just could not bear to see light. For a show that purports to dramatise how the life chances of the young is betrayed by their parent’s generation, it doesn’t get darker than this: a highly twisted tale of ménage à trois; a betrayal beyond all bounds.
It is impossible not to associate deadlines with academia. In this respect, the play is a massive departure from its suggested proposition; ‘deadline’ becomes a more general metaphor for an end in sight: something that neither of the characters have the privilege to look forward to as they are stuck in this quandary of moral failure across generations.
The acting is possibly the best I’ve seen at this year’s Fringe. While the script hinges heavily on sensationalism, it is to the actors’ credit that they manage to perform it with virtuosity, so that any structural flaws are only exposed with hindsight rather than during the act. Deadline is a fantastic experience – definitely one of the best shows about the millennial generation at this year’s Fringe.