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Getaway/Runaway | The Lion and Unicorn Theatre

Getaway/Runaway packs a powerful punch from the offset. The show is an incredibly intelligent look at relationships, family dynamics and what happens beneath the surface in both personal and professional relationships.

The show instantly captures our attention by invoking curiousity, and concern, for what we know will be a tense family meeting. The show effectively uses rapid fire dialogue to inform and engage us of the characters and their history. The thoughtful pacing of the dialogue throughout the show is well-written and helps add another layer to these relationships. For example, there are a few pauses that speak volumes with the implications of larger discussions. This may be the most realistic writing I’ve ever seen in a show. It was also refreshing to see characters that are almost all morally ambiguous, dabbling with some darker shades of grey.

Each character has been carefully created, and the ‘everyday outfits’ help elevate our quick understanding of the characters. With an oversized hoodie for the troubled teen, overalls for the sensible psychology student, what can only be described as a "grey dad sweater” for the father, and a silkier suggestive skirt for the step-mum. These are subtly incorporated and I was quite impressed by this.

All the characters bring so much to the non-existent table, and you can really connect with these characters in some capacity or the other. The stand out characters are Elliott (Nye Occomore), who challenges the audience by having us both want to protect him from the world and vice versa. His movement scene with Noel Harrison's “Windmills of your mind” is perhaps my favourite, and his transition from complete freedom to a breakdown is brilliantly acted. He continues this ability to switch between emotions through the show and it’s a delight to watch.

Alice (Coline Atterbury) steals the show with her witty comments, her extremely sex positive lifestyle and subtle acting. Without giving away too much, Alice’s careful manipulation of emotion and self-victimisation scenes are top class acting and writing. I found myself largely torn between being on the edge of my seat to see what she would do next, and trying to become one with the seat, knowing it would be an intense few minutes. She was absolutely phenomenal, both Alice’s characterisation and Atterbury’s acting.

Mark (Chris Moore) and Saiorse (Kiera Murray) are both also brilliant, with both characters being at the heart of the show. Saiorse brings about a calmer presence to the turbulent show. Her initial speech about menopause is one of my favourite moments of the show, and she’s quite unintentionally hilarious throughout. Mark is also well-written, and his constant defence of Alice is an interesting choice and raises several larger conversations. His relationships with the other characters, and with his own past are interesting to explore, but are often overshadowed by the other present action.

The show also addresses sexual assault/abuse really well, using both dialogue and movement to denote the damages done. Whilst the latter scene is a bit upsetting to watch, especially with the stunning use of sound and light, the actual choreography of the scene is marvellous. Also, I just want to take a moment to thank the writers for the inclusion of men in this conversation, and how important the need to discuss men’s sexual assault really is.

Also a shoutout to Johnny Edwards and Imogen Edwards for the stunning use of sound. There’s a repeated beat during the high-tension scenes, often paired with harsh or red lighting which evoked such a deep seated feeling of anxiety in the audience. The show really does challenge its audience but in a good way. 

A few other honourable mentions of scenes that I think were done well was the parallel of Elliott and Saiorse and their relationships with their father. The use of Saiorse’ “dad, dad, daddy” amongst Elliott’s “dad, dad, DAD!” is so simple yet speaks volumes. Alice’s speech about people choosing their actions towards the end is a brilliant observation, elevated by all that we have seen until that moment. Also an earlier conversation between Saoirse and Elliott where we hear this beautiful exchange, “you hear stories” “but it’s not your story."

The only issue I had with the show was feeling as though Saoirse wasn’t given as big a role as she should have had. She exists primarily as a more passive character, who reacts to others. Yet, there are small glimpses that we do get into her personal life such as the traumatic incident at her job, her secretive romantic partner, her relationship with her mother, or even just more of her coping with all of these new revelations, that I think have a lot of scope to be explored.

In conclusion, Getaway/Runaway is a riveting show that encompasses you with the complexity of being human, power dynamics in a relationship and a dysfunctional family. Both intense and yet understated, the writing is woven together to create an outstanding piece of theatre. Getaway/Runaway plays at The Lion and Unicorn theatre until the 29th July. For more tickets and information, you can follow the link here.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | Photography by Cam Harle


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