Fow @ Summerhall

A fresh energy is injected into some tired romantic tropes in this smart, charming co-production from Deaf & Fabulous and Taking Flight

Review by Dominic Corr | 26 Aug 2021
  • Fow @ Summerhall

Love has no manners whatsoever: it's never around when you want it, and always hanging about when you need it to sod off. And for Lissa, a deaf woman struggling with the pressures of university, love is the last thing on her mind – yet, here it is. 

Fow examines the curiosity of the concept of love, how emotional connections emerge with those we cannot hear, and how it blossoms when we look hard enough. The show puts some life into ancient romance genre tropes by communicating the story in various languages through contemporary digital means.

Writer Alan Saunders has triumphed in sculpting lead actor Stephanie Back’s original idea, with Fow capturing how relationships can develop across linguistic boundaries. Principally told through Welsh dialogue and BSL, the show may at first appear daunting to audiences, but these conversations present a commonality we all share. 

The script falters slightly when incorporating of a storyline involving Josh, Lissa’s brother. This initially provides a welcome dynamic contrast to the plot but eventually contributes to the show’s questionable length. This isn’t down to actor Ioan Gwyn, whose performance captures the role to a T, but rather a problem within Saunders' lengthy script and Elisa Davison’s drawn-out direction. 

Where the pacing causes issues for the character of Josh, it does the opposite for Lissa and love interest Siôn, allowing Back and Jed O'Reilly to take their time with the story. Despite the show taking place over a now-familiar Zoom set-up, their chemistry is unmistakable, and Garrin Clarke’s charming animation of designer Becky Davies' illustrations give this inclusive, humorous and confident love story a fresh dimension.

Fow, Summerhall (online), available on demand until 29 Aug, £5-10; a free online Meet the Artist event with the Fow team takes place on Fri 27 Aug, 6pm, RSVP via