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The Studio, Edinburgh

The End of Eddy is a coming of age, autobiographical gay narrative written by the French author Edouard Louis and adapted for the stage by Pamela Carter.

It recounts the experiences of growing up in a small, semi-rural town in the middle of nowhere (actually it’s Picardy, in the north of France – but Laing’s production allows us to feel that it could be anywhere). “Eddy” – who later changed his name to Edouard – writes of being doubly oppressed as a working-class gay man, and of the complexity of growing up under these circumstances, as his father and school mates put a premium on open displays of masculinity.

Laing’s production has a vaguely post-dramatic feel, with a minimal, semi-industrial-feeling set designed by Hyemi Shin consisting of four screens and a bus shelter. The dramaturgy is similarly pared back: its mechanics are exposed as Alex Austin and Kwaku Mills describe decisions made in the process of developing the play, and the whole thing is narrated in a relaxed, conversational manner that really draws us into the world of the play.

Alex Austin and Kwaku Mills offer some engaging performances: they multi-role, playing satellite characters that appear on the screens. I have niggling doubts about actors interacting with prerecorded footage – it sacrifices the connection between the speaking parts, and the friction that comes from live dialogue. But it is done sufficiently well here that it doesn’t seem like a major issue. Some of the peripheral characters felt a little bit too close to stereotype for me, but this is a production that otherwise felt refreshingly unperformative and honest.

Some beautiful scenes, and sensitive handling of formative sexual experiences, and of the anxieties that arise from a pressure to conform.

  • Drama
  • Based on the book by Edouard Louis, adapted by Pamela Carter
  • Directed by Stuart Laing
  • Cast includes: Alex Austin and Kwaku Mills
  • The Studio, Edinburgh
  • Until 26th August 2018

About The Author

Reviewer (UK)

Luke Davies is an arts journalist, academic researcher and theatre director who lives and works in London. He also writes for the Times Literary Supplement, Literary Review and Review 31.

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