Edinbourgh Festival '99: Reviews

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The Independent Culture

2:18 Underground

Chaplaincy Centre, Venue 23, 6.30pm (0131-662 8882), to 30 Aug (not today)

As the street-wise chorus tells us, a south-bound Northern line Tube train is two minutes, 18 seconds away from Kennington, where one of the carriage-full of passengers we are watching will jump on to the track. The National Youth Theatre's otherwise admirable policy of getting as many young actors on stage as possible is occasionally its Achilles' heel, however. As a result, an over-acted, grating first 10 minutes might well provoke thoughts about the chance of a timely pile-up.

Which, it turns out, is uncharitable. What emerges, as both the cast and the premise of this devised work settle down, is an engaging showcase for the talents of the NYT. The fraught interior lives of each of the passengers are given full rein in a series of well structured fantasy sequences. Even when it veers into the mawkish, you can forgive the performers their enthusiastic excesses.