future for beginnersThe Future for Beginners explores what it might be like to plan every moment of our existence. It’s an idea that shows some early promise, but lacks the legs for a successful or particularly insightful show.

Liveartshow’s playworld mixes loopy quirkiness with futuristic bureaucracy. A woman and a man (Jennifer Adams and Matthew Buigo) work as ‘data cleansers’, sitting amongst piles of paper, setting right other people’s mistakes. Adams’s character sings when she’s feeling cheery – which is most of the first half of the play. It’s full-on, operatic singing, and it makes for some pretty funny juxtapositions until it gets a bit too loud for a bit too long.

The couple decide they want the perfect life together, and decide to spend the next 7 years planning every single day of the rest of their lives, seeking to end up old and happy, staring into each other’s eyes on a park bench. But things start to go wrong when the plans they make don’t look like they’re going to have the predicted outcomes.

There’s a point buried somewhere here about the possibilities of self-fashioning in an age where we write our own lives out on Facebook, and about the limits of authorship – where the creation escapes the delineations of its creator. In this production, however, the structure becomes a bit repetitive and underdeveloped – the point about the impossibility of planning everything out is made early on, and the company seem unsure of quite where to take it.

This renders the production fun, but not particularly urgent or engaging, and its quirks quickly wear thin. The performances are heartfelt and assured, but they’re placed within a structure that doesn’t give them much support. With a bit more work, this could turn into a decent, intelligent piece of theatre, but as it is The Future for Beginners is rather under-baked.

The Future for Beginners is at Summerhall (Venue 26) until 24 August. For more information and tickets, visit https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/future-for-beginners