The Approach @ Assembly Hall

Insightful three-hander about the breakdown of a relationship between two sisters

Review by Helena Davidson | 09 Aug 2018

Mark O'Rowe's The Approach is an insightful divulgence into the lives of Anna (Aisling O’Sullivan), her sister Denise (Derbhle Crotty), and their friend Cora (Cathy Belton). Together, they discuss the events that led up to the breakdown of the sisters’ relationship, and ultimately how they manage to put their old griefs aside in order to salvage real love and friendship.

The Approach is refreshingly minimalist; armed with a single table and two chairs on which to stage their scenes, the only decoration being the row of irregularly-hung chairs at the back curtain, the three actors bare their characters’ stories for the audience with breath-taking honesty.

Throughout the play, we’re frequently left on tenterhooks, as we try to puzzle out the clues these women gave us for their stories. Nothing was simply spelled out, the audience had to work for it, highlighting the intelligence of O’Rowe’s script. These elements paid off, producing a highly beautiful and heart-wrenching play, made interesting by using time jumps and narrative gaps between scenes. The tragedy of the play, it turns out, is not the multiple failed relationships, but rather the loss of such a strong and important friendship that the three women used to share.

There are elements of dark comedy in the play, brought out by expertly-timed line deliveries and magnificent portrayals of the characters, ensuring a highly poignant theatrical experience.

The Approach, Assembly Hall - Rainy Hall, 2-26 Aug, (not 15, not 22), 13:25 (65 mins) £12 

Scroll on to read more of The Skinny's 2018 Edinburgh Fringe theatre reviews; click here for a round-up of all the best reviews from this year's comedy and theatre programme