Save + Quit

A production without any set or props is a risky move. With Fringe shows moving towards more technical ‘whiz’ year on year, bringing a show to Edinburgh that's as stripped-back as Save + Quit is a gamble. It'll need brilliant writing and a fantastically talented cast to ensure it's in with a chance: I'm delighted to say it has both of these things.

A fine ear for dialect is evident in the dialogue

The acting is simply incredible. Save + Quit is, essentially, four monologues told from the viewpoint of two Londoners (Eddie Joe Robinson and Josie Charles) and two Dubliners (Niamh Branigan and Peter Mooney). All four actors, without exception, play their roles with subtlety, skill, and sincerity. Special praise should be given to the four for their superb use of physicality. While monologues are the form through which the play is told, each actor still adopts multiple roles as their characters impersonate the various people with whom they interact. Whether it’s a newly qualified teacher morphing into her condescending headmistress, a barman changing into his long-suffering mother, or an art gallery attendant transforming into a local drunk, the actors' body language always perfectly suits the character portrayed. Niamh Branigan deserves particular commendation for her stunning performance: she brings an outstanding humour and vulnerability to the role of Cara.

As mentioned, the writing is another of the show’s real strengths. A fine ear for dialect is evident in the dialogue: Dubliner Cara playfully calling her little sister a "feckin' knacker" being a lovely example of this. The use of reincorporated imagery as a means of suggesting the interconnectedness of humanity is another intelligent feature of the writing, which adds a great deal to the show. However, while she’s portrayed brilliantly by Josie Charles, the character of the idealistic teacher (saving lives, one pupil at a time!) feels like an archetype that's pretty worn by now.

Certainly, though, if it's intelligent, witty and moving theatre you're after, you definitely won't want to miss this.

Reviews by Alan Stewart

Assembly George Square Studios

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The Blurb

Two lonely Londoners and two dispirited Dubliners share glimpses of their city lives, re-enacting all the characters they encounter on the way. Although Steph is a teacher in an inner-city comprehensive and Joe is a barman, they have a lot in common. As Dubliners Dylan and Cara grow apart, they find themselves seeking solace from the city they grew up in. No set, no props. Simply four humans attempting to live in the metropolises they call home. 'This deft and moving script with immense heart can't fail to matter to anyone that sees it' (Barney Norris).