Very sweet (and very slight), this one-man piece concerns teenage Liam’s attempt to win back the favour of his fellow outcast Caz after he spectacularly fails her by pulling out of a synchronised swimming performance at the last moment, thereby forfeiting their opportunity to participate in a school wide competition Caz is hoping to win (Liam, paralysed with fear, has neglected to reveal to Caz his complete lack of swimming skills).
The play is arranged as Liam’s appearance at an assembly, the production’s stage manager serving double duty as a school administrator to whom Liam directs lighting and sound cues. Armed with an acoustic guitar, Liam narrates (and sings in a series of awkward, gently aching confessionals) the tale of his and Caz’s relationship, their kinship and mutual support against an otherwise hostile, ostracising world. Lest the audience’s attention begin to wander as Liam’s monologue unfurls, the character often engages directly with the crowd, canvassing our participation (at various stages handing out water guns, beach balls, bells and, in the climactic number, bunting-and enjoining the crowd into a singalong).
An early request to have the audience don ponchos (which were handed out as you entered the theatre) so as to embody the pool water that inspires so much apprehension doesn’t quite have significant enough payoff in the moment. Much of the enjoyment and captivation of this hour-long show depends upon the sole performer, and Andrew Finnigan brings loads of geeky, earnest charm to the role, a tender yearning (every quiver of doubt and elation is felt), suggesting a slow build towards self-discovery and confidence. There is a love interest throughout (fellow schoolmate Josh), initially admired from afar, then brought into close alignment after coming to Liam’s aid, embroiling the two in an ambiguous relationship tinged with hope.
Originally an entry at the Edinburgh Fringe (the work of Tom Wells and Matthew Robbins), this is content to be a modest trifle, never edging into darker territory or complication, optimistic that its characters will find their way out of tricky adolescence to healthy senses of self. Drip closed on 22 December