Tara Fitzpatrick: Adulting is inventive, heartfelt, endearing and leaves a smile


Our Edinburgh Fringe reviewer, Tara Fitzpatrick, gives her take on ‘Adulting’

THE FRINGE debut from Spilt Milk theatre company is more of an informal chat than a play. 

The four cast members – Catherine Ward-Stoddart, Grant McDonald, Jacqueline Thain and Anthony Byrne – divulge personal secrets and intimate stories throughout the hour-long performance, with each scene forming a new creative way to engage the audience in their own devising process.

‘Adulting’ is a verb meaning ‘to adult’ and implies that being an adult is merely a performance. The cast take the audience through their own thought-process as they dodge and dive the pit-falls of a quarter life crisis, asking ‘how did I get here?’ and ‘when did life become so serious?’. 

The show toys with the stereotypes and conventions which are often associated with growing up with the help of a list comprised of actions or life events one is expected to have completed before reaching adulthood.

Using a mini, colourful ball-pit as the centrepiece, Adulting is performed in the round with childhood toys, streamers and party-ware scattered around the floor. The cast play with the props throughout while directly addressing the audience.

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One of the most successful assets to the show is the diverse experiences and various personalities among its cast. All four of the performers (who use their real names in the show) are entirely different from each other. 

Ward-Stoddart has a confident, warm, conversation-like relationship with the audience; McDonald has a humble, self-deprecating humour; Thain has enticing storytelling ability; and Byrne has a straight-talking approach to stories of the comical to the deeply personal.

At one stage Thain uses the ballpit as a means of decision making, asking the audience to shout out a colour for which option she should choose. The questions range from the frivolous: what Instagram filter to use, to the potentially life-changing ‘should I go to study at Glasgow University in September?’. 

The scene plays with the various amounts of decisions we make on a daily basis and concludes that, regardless of how serious a decision may be, our ways of resolving issues are often unchanged from when we were children.

Adulting is inventive, heartfelt and endearing. Perhaps it’s telling that the audience was comprised of almost all age groups and managed to leave everyone with a smile.

Adulting, Spilt Milk Theatre Company, The Space Triplex, 4–28 August

Picture courtesy of Matthew Thomas

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