The Collision of Things[author-post-rating] (2/5 Stars)

London can be a vast and terrifying city for the uninitiated – but after coming down for the funeral of the father he never knew, Tom decides to stay put. Some might say that this is an insane decision, wonder how he could possibly afford to pay rent in London without working and even wonder what is happening to all of his stuff and his life back in Wakefield, now he has abandoned them. These do seem like reasonable questions, but Move to Stand theatre company has no interest in them. The Collision of Things is almost magical realist in its disregard for reality, but never quite embraces the concept enough to make these problems feel deliberate.

Tom, a kind of Manic Pixie Dream Girl, only male, moves in with a likeable couple, and the three of them immediately become best friends in a slightly far-fetched way. Tom, who’s almost certainly having a breakdown, is Loads of Fun. He teaches his new friends a lot about how to embrace life, by being a bit irresponsible and trying to get them to do Fun Things like swim in the Thames, even though that’s a really great way to get dysentery or something like it. Plus, when he’s not trying to make everyone carpe their diems, he’s talking reflectively about what he wanted to do as a little boy and trying to learn to dance like his father. Whimsical, whimsical Tom.

The couple, nicely played by Richard Kiess and Merce Ribot, are relatively normal and sweet, though did meet in an unbelievably generic way, thanks to a strong breeze. Still, some elements of their relationship are actually quite moving and Ribot is an expressive and very charming actor.

Ultimately, The Collision of Things is not an unlikeable production, but it feels muddled and misguided, and is dogged by a sense of sheer unoriginality. Its physical theatre sections are strangely bland and have underdeveloped ideas about what the medium can achieve; an extended sequence about how busy London is, for instance, feels so familiar as to border on parody. Other decisions are just a little inexplicable, like having a water cooler on stage throughout. Why?

This is a rather generic offering and a missed opportunity from a company with some promise.

The Collision of Things can be seen at 17.45 at Pleasance Courtyard, every day until 26th August. For more information and tickets, visit the Edinburgh Fringe website.