The Future for Beginners, Summerhall, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Alan Harris and Martin Constantine (creators), Harry Blake (music), Will Holt (design and video design), Cara McAleese (Liveshow creative producer), Fern George (Wales Millennium Centre producer), Isobel Howe (lighting), Kylie Ann Smith (choreographer).
Jennifer Adams (Jenny), Matthew Bulgo (Matthew).
Running time

When you are disappointed by the past and disillusioned with the present, you may want your destiny to be planned.

Meet Jenny and Matthew, two data-cleansers surrounded by piles of paper, checking for other people’s mistakes. “Unbelievable” he huffs, “what were they thinking of?”. The fact that she sings in operatic style “pork chop dinner” does not seem to phase him.

Neither want to be where they are and neither want to be ordinary. She has decided that a penchant for fur and a liking for the cold indicates that she is related to the Tzars of Russia and has hired a private eye to check. He has decided that a past of drinking and waking up naked in the zoo with an amorous chimpanzee is the day to take control of his life.

What then if they could do away with uncertainty and plan a happy-ever-after all the way to the end? They find planning 8 hours a day exciting, all the little details, ironing out chance and future-proofing the future. They become so good at it that they can step into days and actually see the future as they have written it.

The only problem is that they haven’t actually started to live it yet - and the slight hitch that they have lost the plan for day one and it appears that the rest of their lives may come tumbling back to fickle chance. Perhaps they can still rescue it, and even find a reason for them bursting into song?

The plot, for all its convolutions and diversions, might lack somewhat in action and be slight repetitious, but the beauty here is in the unique form of the telling, with Jenny breaking into operatic arias and Matt singing quirky ukulele backed numbers throughout.

The whole piece relies on one device but it’s one that works. It’s as heartwarming and humorous as the capricious rom-com that they try to expunge. Superb performances against a crisp set employing projections allows the characters to live both in the present day and in their imagined future.

If there is message in it about living in the present it’s probably about simply having fun. Plan to see it.

Show Times: 1 - 24 August 2014 (not 12,19) at 3.40pm.

Ticket Prices: £10 (£8)

Suitability: PG