Snowflake by Mark Thomson

Aug 8 2017 | By More

★★★☆☆  Ambitious

Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33): Sun 6 – Mon 28 Aug 2017
Review by Lucy Evans

Snowflake from The Network – The Pleasance Theatre Trust’s partnership with the Scottish Drama Training Network – is an ambitious exploration into the lives of Generation Y.

Jax is 20 and struggling – a recent graduate with no job and an absent mother – who is trying to find connection and meaning amidst the pressures of the digital world.

Snowflake cast with Siobhan Redmond and Mark Thomson. Pic: Heather Pasfield

“Millennials often think of themselves as special snowflakes,” opens the play, before a barrage of news and information is blasted at a sleeping Jax between alarm clock snoozes. With the iconic Facebook thumbs up sign in neon on the back wall, the show immediately sets the scene for an exploration of the problems facing this generation and the impact of social media.

Written and directed by Mark Thomson, the former AD at the Lyceum, the show is inspired by real experiences and input from students across the Scottish Drama Training Network, and has its world premiere at the Fringe.

Shyvonne Ahmmad gives a strong performance as the story’s heroine, Jax, while a range of female characters are impressively multi-roled by Mirren Wilson, Rachel Dunlay and Heather Horseman.

Jatinder Randhawa, Harvey Reid, Russell Dudley and Michael Johnson provide solid supporting roles as the various men connected to Jax’s life. With award-winning actress Siobhan Redmond as the voice of Jax’s absent mother, it’s a strong performance all round.

Too many issues

The script tries to combine too many issues into one however, and rather than being sensitive to the struggle of young people today it almost serves to overgeneralise. While true care is taken to explore Jax’s character and give her depth, her acute level of stress from the start leaves no room for dynamic range.

There is also no time to develop any other characters, making them feel ironically shallow and two-dimensional. Though a talking WiFi router searching for internet does succeed at giving the intended light relief, the personification of Jax’s mental health via a hopeless toaster and life-coach-like talking medication verge on insensitive.

Comments on the vast amount of disturbing information continually shared and the need to constantly validate every activity on Facebook are important points. But with the heightened emotion from the start and plot twists introduced without context or resolution, the show often swaps nuance for melodrama.

It is an interesting idea to include company members’ experiences in the show’s themes, but it loses some authenticity in the way it has been collated. Nevertheless, the talented cast do their best on this ambitious project.

Running time 1 hour
Pleasance Above, Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33), 60 Pleasance, EH8 9TJ
Wednesday 2 – Monday 28 August 2017 (not 15 or 22),
Daily: 1pm.
Tickets and details:
Scottish Drama Training Network website:

Snowflake is the first production by The Network, a partnership between the Scottish Drama Training Network and Pleasance Theatre Trust, giving emerging Scottish talent a launch pad into the industry. The Network will produce new work annually at the Fringe, and is well worth looking out for next year.

The eight members of the cast were chosen by Thomson from over 80 candidates drawn from Scotland’s further education colleges and higher education institutions.


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