All We Ever Wanted was Everything

Luke Barnes, Music by James Frewer

Middle Child

Roundabout @ Summerhall

From 04 August 2017 to 27 August 2017

Rating: ****

Review by Philip Fisher

Hull has arrived in Edinburgh with all guns blazing. Middle Child’s contribution to what the UK City of Culture has branded Hull Takeover is a wild, music-fuelled love story covering the three decades from the births of Chris and Leah in 1987.

All We Ever Wanted was Everything is something between a play and a rock opera, MC’d by a raucous rocker played by Marc Graham.

Accompanied by songs, composed by James Frewer and played by the performers, which accurately convey the relevant period, two lives are shown at ten-year intervals.

Bryony Davies as Leah is the daughter of a bouncer (Joshua Meredith), deserted by his wife, who loves the youngster but has little to offer in terms of money or example.

James Stanyer’s Chris is the opposite, getting pushed by his comfortably-off, widowed mother (Emma Bright) to emulate his psychologist father, regardless of his intellectual limitations.

The parents meet once and the kids become friends for a day at 10 but snobbishness intervenes to part them.

At 20, Chris is cracking up at Uni, while Leah is desperate to follow gorgeous Holly, played by Alice Beaumont, to fame and fortune. Both shun their unfortunate parents.

It is only when evaluating their lives a decade on that happiness seems possible at the end of an evening that becomes more than the sum of its parts, any of which would be good on their own but are greatly enhanced in Paul Smith’s fine production.