Trying It On @ Traverse Theatre

David Edgar's Trying It On is a thoughtful, self-questioning play of ceaseless invention

Review by Dominic Corr | 06 Aug 2019
  • Trying It On @ Traverse Theatre

David Edgar’s production Trying It On is a follow-up of sorts to his earlier piece Maydays, exploring a similar notion of youth and revolution. In 30 years, will you still buy into the same things you told yourself? Will you try and parcel it up in a neat little package, admitting some faults but making out you came out on top? Or are you just trying it on with us and yourself?

Fully embracing the meta-text concept, Edgar openly admits that he isn't fully prepared. His lines aren’t all in place – he reads from a projection. Oddly, it doesn’t remove much from the overall performance, and rather adds to the ‘unboxed’ atmosphere. The stage unfolds around him, quite literally from cardboard boxes, where ideas, opinions and history hide in their paper format.

Ceaselessly inventive, Edgar is two moves ahead of you. Just as the outrage starts to tip and the Brexit talk builds, the offence you may take is torn right out of you. The pursuit of self-gratification over socialism, Marxism and political allegiances is put up for debate.

There’s an air of genuine hope, a feeling that Edgar is passing the torch (or balloon). Because despite the tremendous work he and many others have done, it still isn’t enough. So, he’ll keep on writing, and working and pushing against what he opposes – and we all must do the same.

Trying It On, Traverse Theatre, until 25 Aug, various times, £22-5