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Photo Credit @ Kirsten McTernan

How to Be Brave, Summerhall (Roundabout) – Review

Drawing from her personal experience as a mother, Welsh playwright Siân Owen conceives a near-metaphorical break-neck ride through one of the most daunting challenges of parenthood, the illness of a young child. Single mum Katie (Laura Dalgleish) is scared. This is a big day for her and her little daughter, but she doesn't seem to have the courage to face it. A minor domestic incident triggers a reaction out of proportion. Before she knows it, she's racing across the streets of Newport, first on foot, then on a stolen BMX bicycle. She's running away from something so scary that…

Summary

Rating

Good

A wrecked race across town is used as a metaphor of the fear that a mother has to lose her young daughter. A powerful performance is let down by a crammed plot and unflattering direction.

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Drawing from her personal experience as a mother, Welsh playwright Siân Owen conceives a near-metaphorical break-neck ride through one of the most daunting challenges of parenthood, the illness of a young child.

Single mum Katie (Laura Dalgleish) is scared. This is a big day for her and her little daughter, but she doesn’t seem to have the courage to face it. A minor domestic incident triggers a reaction out of proportion. Before she knows it, she’s racing across the streets of Newport, first on foot, then on a stolen BMX bicycle. She’s running away from something so scary that she cannot even articulate the words to describe it.

As she scurries through the city streets, she revisits episodes from her youth. The empowering memories of every time she had to show courage in the face of adversity; when she was been bullied by the boys at the top of the slide, when she had to dance in public, when her daughter suddenly fell ill and only her quick reactions saved her life.

Covered in mud, hurt and exhausted she bumps into a familiar face. Someone who, in the past, she’d also considered quite scary. Her former schoolmate, now a Police officer, seems to have the situation under control, showing some empathy that Katie didn’t expect. Eventually, she’s lead to the conclusion that every time courage pushed her to face a tricky situation, the outcome has always been positive. She’s finally ready to show her daughter how to be brave.

Regrettably, the confusion that reigns inside Katie’s head affects the efficacy of the play. Too much happens in an hour, whether because of the author cramming too much in it, or the director condensing it all in an insufficient running time. Besides, with the reason for so much panic revealed only towards the end, we are lost pondering why she’s being so reckless. Despite Dalgleish’s charismatic delivery being absolute gold, it’s hard to find catharsis in her character.

Author: Siân Owen
Director: Catherine Paskell
Producer: Dirty Protest
Box Office: +44 (0)131 226 0000
Booking Link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/how-to-be-brave
Booking Until: 25 August 2019

About Marianna Meloni

Marianna Meloni
Marianna, being Italian, has an opinion on just about everything and believes that anything deserves an honest review. Her dream has always been to become an arts critic and, after collecting a few degrees, she realised that it was easier to start writing in a foreign language than finding a job in her home country. In the UK, she tried the route of grown-up employment but soon understood that the arts and live events are highly addictive.