Snowflake by Mark Thomson

Snowflake, a new play written and directed by the former Artistic Director of Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre, Mark Thomson, feels a necessity to explain its title right from the start; essentially, that the “millennials” who became adults during the 2010s have—thanks to their upbringing—an inflated sense of their own uniqueness and, as a result are less resilient than previous generations. (Which, of course, is arguably how every new generation has been described by their predecessors!)

Worth seeing, if only for the chance to catch a few potential future stars at the start of their professional careers

This urge to tell, rather than just show, betrays an earnestness in the production that ever-so-slightly rankles; Mark Thomson’s name may be on the script, but this is a work largely inspired by workshops of young people, for performance by The Network—a new theatre ensemble created by the Scottish Drama Training Network and Pleasance Futures to help young performers make the transition from training to work in the industry. There’s a lot of talent on show here—Shyvonne Ahmmad is particularly notable as central character Jax—but their characters’ blindness to their own privileges is frankly annoying.

Nor does it help that there’s a genuine sense of Thomson, as both writer and director, throwing a whole sack of theatrical tricks into the mix. Some are well used; barrages of light and sound very effectively reflects how this millennial generation exist within a constant whirl of social media and shared information, and the pressures this puts on them to mine their own lives for material. Yet others are more questionable: a disconnected WiFi router represented by an apparently “isolated” blind person (stereotypically wearing dark glasses and using a white stick) is at best a joke in poor taste.

Thomson has brought together a talented production—as well he might, given his own experience in the industry—with Alisa Kalyanova’s set and Taylor Buntain’s sound design working well to create an overall environment for the characters. This is certainly worth seeing, if only for the chance to catch a few potential future stars at the start of their professional careers, but it’s by no means the argument for its generation it wants to be. 

Reviews by Paul F Cockburn

Multiple Venues


Dundee Rep Theatre / Macrobert Arts Centre

The Yellow on the Broom

Underbelly, Bristo Square

Tom Neenan: It's Always Infinity

Assembly George Square Studios

Police Cops in Space

Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Rik Carranza: Still a Fan

Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre





The Blurb

Jax is 20 and is battling with reality. Worst of all she has to get up every single morning. But nothing is clear, not even where she is. Or even who she is. A play of how to find human connection and certainty in a universe of endless notifications and conflicting knowledge. The Network is produced by the Scottish Drama Training Network.