Pool (no water)

Aug 9 2019 | By More

★★★★☆  Cruel but hilarious

The Royal Scots Club (Venue 241): Mon 5 – Sat 10 Aug 2019
Review by Joy Watters

The Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group’s late evening show at the Royal Scots Club, for week one of the Fringe only, is a decidedly over-18s only production of Pool (no water).

Gore Vidal put it succinctly, “Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little”. In Pool (no water) playwright Mark Ravenhill takes the notion and runs with it, hurling it into a hellish abyss of loathing and destruction.

Ross Cairns, Eilidh McLaughlin, Steven Croall and Debi Piri. Pic EGTG

Pool (no water) focuses on friendship in the arts, positing a world where professional jealousy tramples affection underfoot and worse. There are no named characters and the script does not allocate lines to any one of them who form a chorus of a group of artists.

There are four of them who describe the terrible accident that befell their other friend whose success has long outstripped their own, bringing her fame and fortune.

She has invited them to her sumptuous pad and injured herself grievously while diving into an empty pool. The action begins as she lies in a coma and the others gather round, coven-like oozing malice and envy towards her.


They reflect on the past, the present and how they can capitalise on the accident in the future using their unconscious friend for a new art project.

Debi Pirie, Ross Cairns, Eilidh McLaughlin and Steven Croall. Pic EGTG

The young cast – Debi Pirie, Steven Croall, Ross Cairns and Eilidh McLaughlin – take to this challenging piece with relish, making distinguishing identities for themselves.

Each of them rips away the veneer of friendship to reveal selfishness and utter heartlessness: professional jealousy at its most evil.

This is Abbye Eva’s directorial debut at the Fringe and with EGTG, and it augurs well. Pool (no water) is not an easy ride for director, cast or audience with its innovative structure and shocking subject matter but Eva is clearly determined to get it out there.

Running time: One hour (no interval)
The Royal Scots Club, 29-31 Abercromby Place, EH3 6QE (Venue 241)
Monday 5 – Saturday 10 Aug 2019
Evenings: 9pm.
Tickets and details: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/pool-no-water

EGTG Website: https://theegtg.com/
Facebook: @edingrads
Twitter: @TheGrads
Instagram: @edingrads

Eilidh McLaughlin, Ross Cairns, Debi Pirie and Steven Croall. Pic EGTG


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Comments (2)

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  1. Suzanne Senior says:

    Whilst I thought the strong and edgy performances of all the actors were very impressive, this play was just not my cup of tea. In fact I found the main premise to be rather pretentious – their critical friend’s severe injuries from the pool accident form the subject of their artistic imaginings. And all the characters were so loathsome and self -obsessed that I found it difficult to relate to anything in the play, including the humour. I also found their stylised drug-fuelled excesses annoying. All in all, I rather wish there had been water in that pool!

  2. Ross says:

    Sorry but I can’t agree.

    The pretentious point of the play was made in the first 5-10mins and then didn’t go anywhere.

    There was nothing that edgy about it (some pictures…and?) and no real climax. The incident happens in the first quarter.

    The actors were reasonable but The script didn’t do anything for me.