Home » Reviews » Off West End » Forwards and Backwards, Camden People’s Theatre

Forwards and Backwards, Camden People’s Theatre

Presented by Square Peg Theatre
★★★★ 

Pros: Minimalist design, a show where strong performances create the scene.

Cons: Few to speak of; perhaps the chemistry between the two leads could be tweaked, but not by much!

Our Verdict: Don’t miss this well-planned, well-written and well-acted show. It’s what fringe theatre is all about.

Courtesy of Camden People’s Theare

The greatest thing about fringe theatre festivals is the experience of walking into a small auditorium where the set is composed of a wooden box, and then walking out an hour and a half later feeling like you’ve witnessed a story as vividly as if it were real life. Forwards and Backwards from Square Peg Theatre is one of those productions which takes you completely by surprise, and thrusts you into a vivid, rich and emotional experience. This is one you won’t want to miss.

Two people bump into each other on a train. Literally. This production tells the story of their relationship from start to finish, through thick and thin, the good times and the bad, via a series of jumbled vignettes. The script is marvellously written; each little scene, some as short as just a few seconds, weaves seamlessly into the next, moving forwards and backwards (as the title suggests) in time, and slowly unravelling the complex and turbulent, but ultimately loving relationship between the main characters. Intelligent, snappy and involved scriptwriting drives the show forwards with pace and energy, while keeping the audience on the edge of their seat.

The production uses just a wooden box as a set, and the lighting is just a single state throughout. Costumes are simple – a floral dress for her and a simple suit jacket and trousers for him. This is the sum total of the show’s design. Despite the minimalism, the show is remarkably vivid. Using movement, mime and each other, the actors create the environments and scenes themselves. The physicality of this piece is remarkably slick, and the whole production functions like a well-oiled machine. This is topped off with some superb individual performances from Michael White and Katie Robinson who flip from emotional and heart-wrenching scenes to light-hearted, even slapstick episodes in a heartbeat. Their performances are disciplined, exact and moving. The quality of this production company really shines through.

This is the kind of show that explains the success of fringe theatre. The ability to create a whole world out of nothing is a priceless gift, and Square Peg have it. Don’t miss out, book your tickets now.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!

Forwards and Backwards runs at the Camden People’s Theatre until 18th August 2012.
Box Office: 08444 77 1000 or book online at

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