Edinburgh 2013: Anoesis - This school-based drama from Junction 25 fails to reach its potential


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The Independent Culture

The young Glaswegian company Junction 25 return to Edinburgh with a devised show that plunges the audience into a world many of us have happily left behind: school.

We’re sat on long tables, exam papers in front of us, and asked to answer questions and interpret pictures (“draw conclusions from your own life”), immersing us in the forgotten anxiety of the exam hall.

The show brims with teacher-ese - “an asset to the class”; “forgets gym kit” - as the cast read out school reports about audience members. Clearly, the language of the classroom hasn’t changed much; it’s all amusingly familiar.

Later, they read their own, truthful reports - “Rose is happiest when working on something she is really passionate about” - and the piece reveals itself as a critique of our education system. Junction 25 imply that the structures and strictures of school fail to effectively respond to individuality. Teachers repeat tape loops of meaninglessly generic language, mired in rules, requirements, and assessments.

It’s a good topic, performed with energy, focus and commitment. The problem is the structure: Anoesis is really just a series of sketches, cute jokes with the audience, and what amount to little more than drama-club exercises (lots of running around, or moving with slow deliberation; no doubt meaningful to the company, but dull to watch). A school report might read: tries hard, but fails to reach its full potential.

To 16, 17, 24, 25 August (0845 874 3001)