What Goes Up, Passive Aggressive Productions
Reviewed by: Michael Chessum
What Goes Up is a funny and thought-provoking play. What appears at first as a tame, if slightly moody, family camping holiday – hormonal teenage boy, two patient adults, frustrated tent assembly – becomes a more post-modern formula – single mother, mentally ill partner, revelations of parenthood. The story is then pushed and twisted past the point of cliché, as innocent romantic encounters are confronted with the gritty realities of mental breakdown and faeces in suspicious places; old emotional wounds are opened; and solidarity is found in unlikely places.
The performance on the night fell victim to the usual trappings of the early Fringe show: the odd stilted or missed cue; the occasionally awkward bit of blocking and physical movement; and at times loose characterisation. (It is also unclear at points what kind of mental illness one of the characters suffers from).
Despite the somewhat awkward nature of its themes, and the oddness of its characters, What Goes Up retains its Radio 4-esque charm throughout, and is lifted by a particularly good performance from the lead. The claustrophobia of the family camping holiday remains a well-suited backdrop to this tale of loss of innocence and empathy with the abnormal.