“I just wanna be liked,” declares the song as the audience await the beginning of Making The Move and this show certainly does. Wanna be liked that is: it, and its loveably awkward main characters, don’t actually do much at all. They’re too nervous.
When Charlotte, Hannah, Conner and Stan squeeze onto the sofa and agonise over the best way to seduce someone in their American accents there’s a brief whiff of Friends about the set-up. This quickly disappears when the wave of anxiety hits. Hannah and Conner (Emily Pintel and Todd Rizley) are both desperate to seduce the other but both so nervous about making the first move that they turn to their respective friends (Rachel Geiser and brilliant Daniel Tepper) for help. They play out ‘The Move’ at least ten times between them, imagining different possible – and increasingly ridiculous – outcomes. Will she have to ask him to kiss her? Will he accidently say too much and tell her his plans for their future and the names he’s already chosen for their kids? What if he bursts into song? Their teenage angst over a first kiss gets funnier as it gets less believable and the young cast, though unable to hold a freeze frame for as long as they need to, are pretty good.
17-year-old Noah Altshuler is one of the youngest playwright at the Fringe this year, and his inexperience shows in the complete absence of risk. Altshuler sadly sticks to the well-worn path of predictable romantic comedy and there’s nothing here that hasn’t been said a zillion times in teen sitcoms or à la mode awkward-boy-meets awkward-girl movies. However he does manage to cram an impressive amount of character depth into Making The Move’s brief, 20minute slot, making it bit more weighty than the throwaway comedy sketch it could easily have become.
Groundbreaking theatre it ain’t, but this adorkable little show is decidedly nice. It aims for amiability and hits that mark though it’s a real shame that Making The Move doesn’t have a bit more ambition. Brief flashes of originality, mainly in Stan’s hilarious lines, prove Altshuler to be a promising writer but, with another frustrating teenage cliché, he’s trying too hard to be liked to let his talent come through as it should.
Making the Move played at the Edinburgh Fringe. For more information visit www.makingthemove.com