Theatre review: Cartwheels
Edinburgh Fringe Scotsman review: Cartwheels, at C Nova (Venue 145), review by Matt Trueman
Three students sit around their kitchen table. One of them, Amelia, is pregnant with another’s child and they are wondering whether or not to keep it. Suddenly, their housemate snaps. “This isn’t a debating competition,” she screams, “this is your actual life we’re talking about.”
It’s a scorching moment, surprising for a student play and all the more so given that Cartwheels starts out like any other portrait of student life: discussing sex around that same kitchen table.
Yet Sheffield graduand James Hart’s play goes even further. After Amelia suffers a miscarriage, the debate seems to recur, warped but recognisable, as the students debate whether they can bring themselves to dispose of the foetus. It’s a startling, dramatic scene that really gets under your skin.
Hart has an exceptional ear for dialogue, even if he is still over-enamored of grand symbolism as both writer and director. Amelia and Dorian – the father – spend half of the play picnicking on a blanket covered in tiny plastic foetuses; a bizarre representation of IVF that doesn’t pay off.
Even so, there are flashes of real promise here, not least in mature, restrained performances from Fiona Wardle, Nathaniel McCartney and, in particular, Sophie White.
MORE INFO: Cartwheels, at C nova, until 26 August. Today 11pm
Originally appeared in The Scotsman