4 stars ****
Traverse Theatre (Venue 15)
IN THE MIDDLE of a busy Fringe day, I find myself in a moment of peace; sitting on a chair in a shop doorway on the corner of Queensferry Street, doing some people-watching, thinking about the hard question I’ve already been asked – in a nearby graveyard – about what my teenage self would think of me now, and then, on the instruction of a text message, reading the little handwritten diary of the girl who brought me here, which she’s left beside my chair.
This is the kind of thing that happens, to those who join in the solitary “journey theatre” experiences created by Melbourne-based company One Step At A Time Like This; and over the past two years, with a group of young artists from the Clonmel Junction Festival in Ireland, they have created this latest piece, designed to raise questions about what happens to youthful dreams, yearnings and ambitions, and how we feel when we look back on our own teenage years.
The show involves a 90-minute walk around the West End backstreets of Edinburgh, and a series of strange encounters with two young women and a young man, who fly around and past like the spirit of youth itself, before returning to engage us in some telling chat; mobile phone calls and text messages ask questions, and give gentle instructions about the next step. In the end, there’s a session with a young therapist, who asks how he should live his life, and keep his dreams alive. And there’s something about this rich encounter with new people, in a familiar landscape made strange and beautiful by their presence and perspective, that makes the answers to those questions seem very close at hand, although still just beyond our reach.
Not in Fringe brochure.