Timeline (Edinburgh Festival Fringe Preview) @ Etcetera Theatre

A cast of 5.
5 Nottingham University students.
A fair distance from Nottinghamshire.

They welcomed us to Camden’s Etcetera Theatre with their backs towards us and each wearing a different colour of skinny jeans (this immediately excited me, but I concluded this was adopted for dramatic effect rather than harbouring any hidden meaning).

The excitement was tangible as the audience settled within the cosy theatre, everyone peering down with expectant expressions, simply unable to wait any longer! And Two Box Productions certainly did itself justice in presenting a thoroughly enjoyable 60 minutes of pure, intense drama.

I must express how overwhelmed I felt watching my fellow Nottingham Students act in such a professional and polished manner; it was evident that their heart and soul was poured into this performance and that their dedication was 100%. I sat transfixed as I watched the lives of Jack (Hugh Purves), Rachel (Mia Obertelli), Ben (Rory O’Shea), Sophie (Rosie Cave) and Oscar (Lawrence Bolton) became entwined within a net of friendship, attraction and confusion. Their story was familiar and succeeded in providing us all with food for thought.

The problems they explored were real – drinking, procrastinating, chomping cheese (we’ve all been there!) – making the show both relevant and relatable to life today. I found myself travelling with each character, simultaneously sharing their problems whilst reliving my own year as a Fresher; from feeling insignificant, fretting about having that ‘feeling’ for somebody who has no idea, to dealing with adult issues such as unsafe housing and mouldy fridges. They cleverly conveyed  every aspect of Student Life through their adoption of the Facebook Timeline format.. I personally found this technique both extremely imaginative and rewarding; whirling its audience from September 2012 to July 2013 with the use of ‘Status Updates.’

It did not fail in keeping its audience engaged and laughing until the very end with its witty lines: ‘I pulled this short guy the other night, because there was a ‘short-age’ of hot men’. Sex lead to a punch in the face due to a lack of coordination [ow!] and I particularly enjoyed Sophie’s financial meltdown  where she seeks comfort by eating ‘a block of cheese whilst asking emphatically “WTF do grown ups do?!”’ . Despite its hilarity, ‘Timeline’ also highlighted how difficult growing up can be and how ‘awkwardness’ tends to be the main element that fuels student life. I was drawn in by how they used the months of June and July, not to focus on summer, but on Ben’s revelations of how he felt ‘shit scared of losing my friends… the closer they are the more it hurts.’ ‘Timeline’ provided life lessons that will definitely linger for some time within its audience’s mind.

Radhika Chond

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