Class Mates

August 11, 2017 | By | Reply More

★★★☆☆  Qualified success

theSpace on the Mile (Venue 39): Sat 5 – Fri 25 Aug 2017
Review by Hugh Simpson

Acted with drive and commitment, A Dash of Theatre and New Celts Productions’ Class Mates largely overcomes a script that has its drawbacks.

Anne-Marie Draycott and Charity Trimm’s new play features three community centre evening courses – Zumba, sewing and an antenatal class – and two people attending each class.

Laura Porch and Kerri Clarence. Pic: A Dash of Theatre

The three scenarios are very different in tone, which is fine until it becomes clear that every possible opportunity for providing links between the characters is going to be exploited – as well as some that don’t really seem possible at all. The resultant parade of coincidences is just too neat and artificial for comfort, giving this the breathless air of a whole run of a sitcom telescoped into one hour.

The humour is somewhat lost as a result, with the situation not being helped by the predictable, ‘life-affirming’ platitudes the characters come out with. Which is a shame, as there are definitely some sparky lines and inventive use of language.

It is to the cast’s credit that they invest the performance with enough life to compensate for many of the drawbacks of the writing. Maria Eleftheriadou is both funny and poignant as serial nightclass attender Maria, with Katie Grant an effective foil as her daughter Izzy.

comedic flair

Alison Todd is believably brittle as bitter mother-to-be Marla, and Graeme Murdoch shows comedic flair as expectant father Zack. The fact that both performances are somewhat one-note is the fault of the undeveloped characters rather than their performances, but it does mean that their growing friendship never really convinces.



There is a similar problem with the sewing-class attendees, harassed mother Claire (Kerri Clarence) and wannabe YouTuber Laurie-May (Laura Porch). It is obvious that at one point Claire will snap, and we know exactly what she will say, while Laurie-May’s character is a stereotype with little room for manoeuvre. The two performers accordingly do very well in giving them such personality, with Porch in particular a comic performer of some promise.

Iain Davie’s direction is brisk and businesslike, and the play flies by as a result. Even if it lacks in profundity and originality, there is plenty of entertainment here, thanks mainly to the efforts of a fine ensemble.

Running time 1 hour 15 minutes (no interval)
theSpace on the Mile, 80 High Street, EH1 1TH (Venue 39)
Saturday 5 – Friday 25 August 2017
Odd dates only at 2.20pm
Book tickets on the Fringe website: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/class-mates
A Dash of Theatre website: https://adashoftheatre.wixsite.com/adashoftheatre
Facebook: @Adashoftheatre
Twitter: @adashoftheatre

ENDS

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