Theatre review: Billy Through The Window
Theatre review: Billy Through The Window

Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Billy Through The Window, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Paul Whitelaw ★★★ Despite a nagging, underlying earnestness, this sensitive drama about two teenage boys with learning difficulties is crafted with care. Best friends Billy and Joe are “on holiday”. That is: they’ve gone Awol from their care home. The setting for …

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Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Billy Through The Window, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Paul Whitelaw

★★★

Despite a nagging, underlying earnestness, this sensitive drama about two teenage boys with learning difficulties is crafted with care.

Best friends Billy and Joe are “on holiday”. That is: they’ve gone Awol from their care home. The setting for their secret adventure – orchestrated by Joe – is an abandoned countryside cottage. Initially full of excitement, they unpack their loot – toothbrushes, canned goods, Ribena – and settle down in perfect rhythmic harmony. They’re touchingly close.

But as the reality of the situation sets in, Billy becomes more anxious. His routine has been broken, and he needs his insulin shots. Joe assures him, with increasing fervour, that he’ll be fine without them. They can look after themselves.

Billy frets after his beloved mother. Joe, who has the keys to the cottage, never mentions his. They drink, smoke and, after a fashion, score everything off their pubescent wish-fulfilment list. They become independent, no longer “different”.

The signposted inevitability of the piece means that it never quite reaches the emotional peak it’s aiming for. But it’s beautifully performed, especially by the young actor playing Joe. His intensity is draining, in the best possible sense.

Underbelly, Cowgate (Venue 61), until 30 August, 1:20pm

Published in The Scotsman on 25 August 2015

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