Submarine

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14/08/15

The Space On Niddry Street, Edinburgh

Based on Joe Dunthorne’s novel (already made into a successful film by Richard Ayoade) Popcorn Productions have scored a bit of a coup by bringing the very first stage production of Submarine to the Edinburgh Fringe. In the close confines of the Space On Niddry Street, a large cast manage to coax plenty of laughs from a near sold-out audience. As Oliver Tate, Jonas Moore makes a strong impression, getting across the lead character’s various tics and traits with aplomb as he begins a halting (and it must be said, rather weird ) romance with his sulky classmate Jordana (Rachel Kelly). The two leads are ably supported by an energetic young cast who portray his schoolmates, his family and his neighbours.

Most of the real laughter occurs in the first half. As matters become more serious, so the story becomes rather less convincing. Maybe the original tale is simply a little superficial, dealing with quite serious issues in a lightweight manner – and perhaps if everyone in the cast had as much gravitas as Josh Hunter, who plays Oliver’s bewildered father, Lloyd, the show would have had more depth. As it is, this is a charming student production that occasionally fizzes into real life – the ‘lecture’ by local mystic Graham Purvis (Tom Titherington) is a particular highlight, ably abetted by the use of clips from his promotional video.

This is a credible attempt at adapting a source novel into a play and all concerned should feel justifiably proud.

3.5 stars

Philip Caveney

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