Thursday, 8 October 2015

Review: So Here We Are, Royal Exchange Studio, Royal Exchange & High Tide, 6th October 2015

Four men, black suits, black ties, the mood bleak, the sense of loss evident, a tense silence hanging on the air, broken only when one of them pipes up “well that’s f**ked up the five a side”. From the first line, you know that bog standard isn’t going to be dish of the day. A co-production with High-Tide Festival, So Here We Are tracks the events leading up to a young man’s death and the ripple of its aftermath. Ripple being the key word, no flapping of arms, no histrionics, barely an undry eye, just a liberal dose of crude, laugh out loud lad banter masking emptiness, devastation and preventing anyone from asking what the hell happened to Frankie.

It’s a winning start, but it fails to grab the medals. The sharp dialogue and mystery of the opening scene, a chunky, 30ish minute four hander focussing less on what is said (how fit was the grieving mother/grandmother?) than what no-one wants to say,  is concurrently riotous and intensely moving (although arguably becoming slightly too ‘Inbetweeners’ at some points). The ensuing scenes fail to live up to the blast of this starting gun, descending into a perfectly executed but ultimately clunky, formulaic catalogue of exposition that is saved by a crushing twist and a heartbreaking final scene. 3/5

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