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Edinburgh Fringe Review: A play losing its way in The Journey, Pleasance Dome

There is good writing here and some good ideas but it loses its way.

0e1c6c_1222776cfa4c4214bab8b51024501b7a~mv2_d_1500_1500_s_2_555x500The Journey is the story of a romance set on a lonely spaceship but it's also a play within a play, the trials and tribulations of two actors putting on a play at the Fringe.

Written by stand up Stuart Laws, it starts off with an interesting premise, a couple in the first flush of their relationship win a trip on a spaceship - it's a solo trip and will take the best part of a year. 

At first, the couple are still in that cute phase with their own jokes and language shortcuts but the isolation - and lack of decent reading matter - inevitably begins to put a strain on the relationship.

Emotional baggage is revealed and history comes back to haunt them and petty squabbles start.

The actors break the fourth wall to occasionally narrate their performances and comment on how they've adapted to certain logistical challenges in the production.

It's amusing and cleverly blurs the lines between the two narratives leaving you guessing where one story ends and the other begins. 

However, you know the cute romance phase is not going to last forever - otherwise, where would the drama be?

The cracks start to appear and what you end up with is two people frequently yelling at each other.

The speed between amicable to row gets quicker and quicker and any deeper character and emotional assessment gets lost amid the yelling.

Arguments spill out into the parallel story too so you are watching two disintegrating relationships, the promise of the wit and observation in the early scenes descends into watching two people arguing. And that just isn't fun or interesting.

What started out with wit, observation and amusement descends into something where the screaming and shouting masks the messages beneath.

In the final big showdown, stereotypes are ticked and it feels like an unsatisfying way to end something that started with so much promise.

There is good writing and some good ideas but it loses its way.

The Journey is at the Pleasance 10 Dome until August 27.

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